Everyone in the rescue community dreads the July Fourth holiday. Shelters across the country are beyond full. As horrible as it sounds, some people dump their pets at shelters to avoid paying boarding costs when they go on vacation. Shelters beg rescues to take dogs but there aren’t enough fosters because people are traveling. Rescues who board overflow dogs when there aren’t enough foster homes can’t find boarding because because kennel space is scarce.
If all this isn’t awful enough, the booming sound of fireworks terrifies many dogs who bolt, scale fences and jump out of windows because they are so frightened. Which leads to more dogs being brought to shelters that are already over full, with the result that unclaimed dogs or owner surrenders in shelters are euthanized to make room for more dogs coming in. The Fourth of July is the perfect storm for rescue and the fallout from this disastrous holiday spills over into the remaining summer months. If you can foster, this is the time to take a dog. Visit nationalpyr.org/fostering to get started. Your help will never be needed more!
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is promoting the following guidelines to help us keep our pets safe. As everyone plans their Fourth of July celebration, please keep your animals in mind. Many pets get lost around this holiday. Festivities which include fireworks and other commotion, can be extremely stressful to pets or result in them getting lost. For the safety and protection of pets, we recommend the following:
Leave pets at home and inside. Fireworks can be terrifying to pets, even pets who are accustomed to being around crowds and commotion.
Create a home sanctuary. Leave your pet in an area of your home where he or she is safe, comfortable and sheltered from any outside noise and lights. An interior room without immediate access to the outside is preferred. Playing a radio or TV with relaxing music may help mask the sound of fireworks.
Pet-proof your home. When scared, some animals may become destructive so be sure to remove anything from reach that can become damaged or may harm the pet if chewed or eaten.
Identification is essential. Pets may panic, escape and become lost. Updated identification is critical to ensuring lost pets are reunited with their families and not on death row in a shelter. Ideal identification is both a tag and microchip (make sure your chip is registered on a site such as www.petmicrochiplookup.org).
Consult a veterinarian for pets with anxiety. Reach out to your veterinarian before the Fourth of July to seek out remedies to lower your pet’s stress level if this is a known issue.
Other considerations: if you’re partying, holiday foods can be unhealthy—hot dogs have high sodium and unfamiliar foods can upset your dog’s tummy; summer heat and travel are dangerous, so never leave your pets unattended in a car; keep an eye out for potentially dangerous debris from fireworks that can end up lying on the ground where pets can eat or play with it.
We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday but please keep your pets’ safety in mind!