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Shelter director: ‘Take precautions for your pets’

As if the summer heat were not hard enough on pets, the worst time of year is fast approaching, said Madera County Animal Shelter Director Kirsten Gross.

“Please plan ahead and take precautions for your pets this Fourth,” said Gross. “Tag your pet with ID. Check your fences, or bring them inside so they don’t get panicked, run loose and get lost or hit by cars. The sight and sounds of any fireworks can really panic any animal.”

Every year around the July 4th, the shelter is overwhelmed with 50 to 60 additional animals owned by someone, according to Gross. The animals escape during the noise and other commotion during holiday, and not all owners check the shelter or reclaim their dogs.

“It’s a tragedy for the owners and the pets, but it’s preventable,” Gross said. “If the worst happens and your pet escapes, contact Madera County Animal Services promptly at 675-7891. And post lost notices with pictures in the area and also on social media.” Tips for keeping animals safe on the 4th

1. The best way to get your pet returned is to place a collar and tag with contact numbers on your pet. Micro chip ID’s are also available.

2. If possible take your pet to a familiar place or location away from the noise and festivities. A quiet inside room can also help.

3. Go for a long walk with your dog, or have or have extended play period to tire him or her out prior to the festivities. Exercise helps help keep pets calm.

4. Offer distractions like toys filled with goodies, and soothing music or television.

5. Play the sounds of fireworks or loud noises weeks prior to the event to get pets used to the noise.

5. Stay calm, speak softly, and pet your furry friend to help them relax.

6. Reward calm behavior with special treats. NEVER yell or scold your pet when it gets scared.

7. Try a pet anxiety jacket which ‘hugs’ and applies gentle pressure to the dog’s upper body.

8. For animals with extreme sensitivity call your vet and arrange for appropriate light sedation.

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