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Proper Preparation For Pets And July Fourth Holiday
Seven-month-old Mica is looking for a new home; she is one of the adoptable pets available through ASTRO. The local shelter is also reminding owners to help prepare their pets for the upcoming Fourth of July festivities, bearing in mind they may be frightened by the loud fireworks associated with the holiday. Photo Contributed

Being aware as well as prepared is the name of the game for pet owners as they look ahead to the July 4 holiday. As pet owners prepare and make personal plans for Independence Day celebrations, it’s equally important to plan appropriately for one’s pets and keeping them safe during area festivities.

“First and foremost, if you have an especially anxious dog, I would highly recommend talking to your vet now, about a prescription medication that they can give as a sedative,” ASTRO Foundation, Director of Adoption Services, Megan Scoullar stated.

ASTRO is the Animal Shelter To Riverbank and Oakdale; it also now receives some animals from the Escalon area and welcomes pet adoptions by residents from throughout the tri-city region.

Scoullar explained that a prescribed sedative is often the most effective way to help a dog not feel stressed or freaked out, which could result in them trying to escape, destroy the house or react negatively to someone who is trying to calm the dog.

“It can just unleash a whole lot of things that we don’t want to think about,” Scoullar added of anxiety resulting from the loud noises and booms of fireworks.

Signs of an anxious pet may include: overstimulated by sounds; ears being back; cowering; eyes darting.

Scoullar emphasized the need for seeing a veterinarian sooner rather than later, as appointments might be harder to come by with the holiday growing close.

Other important precautions important to take prior to July 4 would be making sure your pet’s identification tags are up to date with the owner phone number and even address.

“That way if you’re not answering, the person who has your dog can just go drop them off in your backyard, hopefully,” the ASTRO Director stated.

“If you don’t have a microchip, get one,” she continued. “They are fairly inexpensive and can be done quickly by a vet.”

It’s also important to make sure the microchip is up to date with current owner information.

“If you have a chipped pet now, you need to get their chip number,” she said.

If you are unable to locate a record of the number, a vet’s office, animal control or ASTRO can scan the pet to get the chip number. AAWA (Association for Animal Welfare Advancement) chip registry is where an owner will type the number and find which chip manufacturer their chip is connected to.

“You can call them if you need assistance updating the information, but usually it will just take you to their site,” Scoullar said of updating information with a microchip company. “It’s absolutely worth it. All you need is that chip number, a computer and customer service or a website to help you update.”

“It really is the first thing any animal rescuer will look for,” she continued, “so if that information isn’t up to date it’s going to be a lot harder to find your pet.”

While the ideal thing would be being with your pet during the Fourth of July festivities, keeping them indoors is also the best bet for their ultimate safety and care. If a family should have travel plans or will be away without their pet, Scoullar said to make sure they are provided for in your absence.

“Be mindful of who you trust to care for your anxious pets; try to have someone home that is familiar with your dog if traveling,” she advised.

“Just make sure they’re secure,” she added, if unable to afford or access a sedative to help an anxious pet. And if they do have to be left outdoors, make sure they’re secure in a kennel, properly latched.

“You’ve got to work with what you’ve got,” she said. “If it is an outdoor pet make sure it’s secure as best you can and if they can’t stay secure, make sure your contact info is up to date.”

For pets found or lost, the community should call animal control for the given area. Offer a description, time and place lost or found, also post on social media and go on all the lost pet sites.

“If you may have an anxious pet, try to hang out with them,” Scoullar concluded. “Maybe don’t go on vacation without them.”