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Ask SAM: Keeping pets safe during fireworks

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Fireworks on the July 4th holiday are as American apple pie.

But for many pets, especially dogs, the loud noise made by the fireworks is frightening and may cause them to them to run away.

“The noise associated with the holiday festivities, whether from neighbor’s firecrackers or large fireworks displays, often causes pets to panic and run away as they try to find somewhere safe to hide,” the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Division said.

“Across the country, there is a 30% increase in lost pets July 4th – 6th. Animal shelters report that July 5th is typically the busiest day of the year.”

Rockingham Generic Fireworks (copy) (copy)

Sadly, many dogs that take off never make it back to their owners.

Dogs are very vulnerable to fireworks noise. If they can’t find shelter to get away from the fireworks, they may hurt themselves.

“Common signs of stress caused by fireworks noise include shivering, shaking, excessive panting, salivating, and trying to hide,” the division said.

Animal Services offered these tips for keeping pets safe during fireworks:

  • Keep pets inside and, if possible, do not leave them alone.
  • Give pets access to their crate or other safe place in your home.
  • Periodically toss pets a treat or a toy to keep them occupied.
  • Cut down on noise by closing windows and turning on a radio or television.
  • Act normal around pets as they take emotional cues from humans.

Be sure that your pet has been microchipped, which makes it much easier to reunite pets and families.

If your pet is lost, contact the Forsyth Humane Society 336-721-1303, or check their website at forsythhumane.org. A list of pets that come to the shelter is available on the website.

If you find a pet, Christina Howell, a spokeswoman for Animal Services, has these tips for reuniting pet and owner.

“If an individual finds an animal they believe is lost, they should check the tags to see if there’s a number to contact the owner directly.

“If they can’t locate the owner, they may call Animal Services at our non-emergency number at 336-727-2112. (Note that our response time may be lengthy due to staffing and the fact that we receive a large number of stray calls.)

“Our Animal Services Officers will check to see if it the animal microchipped, and it will be cared for by the Forsyth Humane Society as it is held to see if it can be reunited with its owner.

“Putting the animal on a neighborhood app like NextDoor, or a neighborhood group on social media, is helpful.

“The individual can update the post with the information that the animal is with the Forsyth Humane Society once it is picked up.

“We want pets that get loose to be reunited with their owners,” Howell said.

The animal shelter is at 5570 Sturmer Park Circle. The hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It is closed on Sunday, Monday, and holidays. The phone number is 336-703-2480.

Here’s hoping you and your fur buddy have a safe and happy Fourth of July.

Pets and fireworks
Melissa Hall

Melissa Hall, Straight Answer Ma’am

Email: AskSAM@wsjournal.com

Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101

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