How to keep your pets safe during Fourth of July

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – At-home fireworks displays began long before the 4th of July, and while the booms and pops are exciting for some, they can be terrifying for some pets.

Even though Tuesday is a holiday, the Deputy Director for Albuquerque Animal Welfare told KOB 4 she expects shelters to be busy.

Susan Ellis explained how intake averages between 300 and 400 animals during the holiday weekend every year, at the East and West Side Animal Shelters. She also said 80% of pets that are not microchipped will not make it home.

So, ahead of the holiday festivities, Ellis recommends getting your pet chipped or making sure the information on your pet’s chip is up to date. She said all city fire stations have equipment to scan microchips, so she would prefer you take pets there instead of the busy shelters.

“If you cannot keep the pet overnight, or whenever, if it’s– you don’t feel like it’s safe, you certainly bring it in,” Ellis said. “But if you can look in your neighborhood, where you found the pet and see if maybe somebody in that neighborhood, you know, knock on doors, and see if–“is this your pet?’ because chances are they live within a mile of work they were picked up.”

Ellis also recommends posting on social media if you have lost or found a missing pet. If you do have to bring them to a local shelter, she asks that you make an appointment first.

There are plenty of steps pet-owners can take to keep anxious pets safe and calm at home over the holiday. Ellis said to keep them inside if possible, narrowing their opportunities to run away. You can put them in an escape-proof room like a closet or back bedroom without windows. She said providing them with calming music, a favorite toy or even earmuffs can help too.

In more extreme cases, some owners give their pets medicated drops to keep them calm, but Ellis recommends talking to your vet before doing so.

“They panic,” she explained. “I mean, I’ve seen dogs go through windows, because they are so panicked. That’s why being prepared ahead of time with other medications or strategies, that kind of thing, is so important than just waiting until they’re so amped up, that they get so scared that they hurt themselves.”