The most dangerous week of the year for pets By Ed Boks

Ed Boks and dogs and pets and fireworksThe next 10 days is the most fun and raucous time in most communities.  The festivities culminate around the 4th of July with outdoor celebrations, picnics, barbecues, and of course, fireworks. Before you pack up to the lake or the outdoor arena, stadium or even your own front yard to enjoy the pyrotechnic delights of the holiday, be aware of your pets’ needs and fears.

Animal shelters across the nation experiences a significant increase in the number of lost (and injured) pets brought into their facilities after every July 4 holiday.

Even pets who are normally calm and obedient can show unpredictable behavior when frightened. Dogs and cats can become frightened or confused by the excitement and loud noises of the holiday. I have rescued terrified pets who have chewed through their tethers, jumped through plate glass windows or over fences, and escaped “secure” enclosures.

Dogs attempting to flee the frightening, and even painful noises of the fireworks may lose their sense of direction and run long distances risking injury or death as they dart in and out of traffic. This is one of the most dangerous times of year for your pets.

Up close, fireworks can burn or injure your pets, but even if they are far away, they still pose a unique danger to your companion animals.

To minimize the danger to your pets take these few simple steps before you set out to celebrate this Fourth of July:

• Keep pets indoors in an enclosed area that they are familiar with to minimize fear. If possible, turn on a radio to mask the noise of the fireworks or other celebratory noises.

• If your pet is excitable, consult with your veterinarian ahead of time to arrange administration of a proper calming drug.

• If you have to be away for an extended time, board your pets with family or friends you trust and can assure you that the pet will be kept confined and cared for.

• Always be sure your pet has a current microchip. A microchip is the best identification for a pet because it is always with him and it makes it easier for YHS to find you should the unthinkable happens and your pet manages to escape.

• Even if you think your pet is ok with fireworks and noise, do not let him out when fireworks are being lit and set off. The pet may run at them and sustain serious burns, or bolt and run.

If your pet happens to escape during the holiday festivities, be diligent in visiting your local shelters every day, and posting “Lost Dog” or “Lost Cat” signs and canvassing surrounding neighborhoods. Place a yard sign in front of your house with a picture of your pet and your phone number. People who find lost pets will often walk or drive around the area attempting to find the owner.

Remember, fright can drive an animal to new and unfamiliar grounds, many miles from your home. So exhaust all avenues. This 4th of July holiday can be the best ever if you take these precautions to keep your pets safe and happy while you enjoy the festivities without having to worry about the family pet.

Life-saving microchips can be purchased at most shelters.  Please protect your pets this 4th of July.

4th of July Warning! by Ed Boks

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!