Thursday, June 29, 2006

4th of July Warning!

While people all over the country are looking forward to the traditional Fourth of July fireworks show, it's important to remember that what's fun and entertaining to us can be terrifying to our pets.

Frightened by the explosions and bright flashes of light, it's not uncommon for frightened animals to dig under or jump over fences. Even the best-behaved and most well-trained animals run when they're scared. And once they're out of familiar territory, they get lost.

The fifth of July is our busiest day of the year because so many animals get loose the night before. We receive hundreds of calls from the public who have lost their pets during the fireworks celebrations.

The behavior of an otherwise normal animal can change with loud noises. In addition to seeing dozens of lost, scared, sick and injured pets on July 5, we also see many distraught people in search of their lost companions.

Summer is an especially dangerous time for an animal to be lost and on its own. Without water, animals can easily suffer heat exhaustion or dehydration. Roaming streets and sidewalks that have been baking in the California sun often lead to burned paws.

Animal Services has some simple suggestions to help pet owners keep their animals safe this holiday.

First, keep your pets indoors. If you are hosting a party, be sure to watch for open doors and gates. Pets are quick and can slip away before you know it. If you do have to take your animal outside, make sure he/she is securely on a leash.

If you can, confine your pet to a single room where he/she will feel safe. Make sure there is plenty of food and water (but don't overfeed) and lots of toys to play with. You might also consider turning on a radio or television to drown out the noise of the fireworks.

Whatever you do, do not take your animal to an event featuring fireworks. Between the noise of the show and the bustling crowd, chances are good your pet could get away from you.

Finally, make sure your animal has current identification. Make sure to include your name and at least two phone numbers on the tag. If your pet does run away, that will increase the chances of your getting your pet back safely.

If your pet does run away, visit the Los Angeles Animal Care Center closest to you. People who lose pets should also check our website at

Animal Services wishes you and your pets a safe and happy 4th of July! Together we can make LA the safest City in the United States for our pets!