Holiday is most common time for pets to go missing, experts say
By Terrance Thornton
Digital Free Press
The upcoming Fourth of July holiday is the most common day for pets to go missing across the United States of America — the Valley of the Sun is no outlier, experts say.
At the Arizona Animal Welfare League, which is the oldest and largest no-kill shelter in Arizona, is Kimberly Vermilion who offered to the Digital Free Press insight on what local pet owners can do to help their furry friends get through the annual Fourth of July firework displays.
The Arizona Animal Welfare League Rescue is at 25 N. 40th St. in Phoenix.
Officials at the AAWL rescue report the effort rehabilitates and rehome more than 4,000 cats and dogs every year, in addition to low-cost services for pet owners and opportunities volunteer service and foster parenting.
Q&A with Kimberly Vermilion at AAWL
•Can you tell our readers a little bit about what the mission of the Arizona Animal Welfare League is?
The Arizona Animal Welfare League is the oldest and largest no-kill shelter in Arizona. Not only does AAWL rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome more than 4,000 cats and dogs every year, but we also offer a variety of low-cost services for pet owners and opportunities for members of our community to be involved in our life-saving efforts, including become a volunteer or foster.
•How can pet parents help their ‘babies’ and ‘good boys & girls’ curtail the anxiety of fireworks?
Nearby fireworks can frighten pets and cause them anxiety, it can also cause them to flee your yard or home. Shelters like the Arizona Animal Welfare League experience a drastic increase in lost cat and dogs every Independence Day. However, by taking these mentioned precautions, pet owners across Arizona can ensure pet safety and limit the burden to local shelters.
Help keep your pets safe during the holiday weekend by following these tips:
1. Do not take your pet to the fireworks celebration, and if your cat wanders outside, make sure to keep them secured during the holiday weekend.
2. Exercise will help dwindle a pet’s anxiety by the time the fireworks start. Pet owners should research when their neighborhood will have Independence Day events and exercise hours beforehand, not when fireworks may be happening.
3. Owners should nurture whatever toys or habits tend to relax them. Even offering a place to hide could help them feel more secure so that they don’t run away. Gates and surrounding fences should also be checked ahead of time to be sure there are no escape route.
•Dogs and cats get anxiety?
- Yes, dogs and cats can get anxiety, here is a few tips to help ease their stress during the July holiday:
- If your pet is anxious around loud noises, consider purchasing a ThunderShirt. Like swaddling a baby, ThunderShirts apply gentle, constant pressure to calm all types of anxiety, fear, and over-excitement issues. They can be purchased at any large pet supply store and online.
- You can also find botanical calming products or CBD treats to help calm your pets during these stressful times.
- If your pet is extremely anxious, ask your vet about medications to help ease their anxiety during stressful times like the Fourth of July.
•I read it is estimated 10 million pets are lost due to the anxiety around fireworks, which is a staggering number of pets lost. What are tips for pet owners as the July holiday is just around the corner?
In preparation for Fourth of July fireworks, make sure your pets are microchipped and up to date. If your pet is not microchipped, it is a very quick procedure that takes less than 30 seconds and will last the lifetime of the animal. If your pet is microchipped, contact the company, and ensure your information is up to date. There may be a small cost, but it is worth it to help your pet find their way home if they are lost.
Also ensure that their I.D. tag has your correct information on it, so in case your pet does get out. Hopefully, you will be reunited.
Ensure that your backyard is secure, and dog proofed. If they must go outside during this time, secure them on a leash to be extra safe, and do not let your cat wander outside during this time, they may get spooked and run to hide.
•What do you think the best approach? Do you have a routine for your furry friends?
The best thing you can do for your pet if they get anxious from fireworks is to create a safe space for them inside your home.
- Close and lock all your doors
- Place a kennel or a cozy bed in room with no windows or heavy curtains
- Dim the lights and make it a safe space for your pet to hang out during this stressful time. You can have a radio playing quiet music that can function as background noise to help offset the loud noises outside
- Also ensure that your backyard is secure, and dog proofed. If they must go outside during this time, secure them on a leash to be extra safe.
•What is the No. 1 thing your think our readers need to know on this?
Between July 4-6, 30% more pets are lost than any other time of year, take the necessary precautions to keep your pets safe. Make sure their ID and microchip information is up to date, and they are safely secured inside your home during the holiday, so you do not have to worry about them getting scared and running off.