(Family Features) Summer social gatherings and celebrations, especially those involving fireworks, can add up to a lot of fun for humans, but it’s an equation that may test the limits for a fearful pet. The break in day-to-day consistency and the chaos that comes with festivities can cause pets to escape in search of solace, which often times results in them leaving their loved ones behind.
“During the summer months, we tend to take a step away from our usual routines and that can be very unsettling for a pet,” said David Haworth, DVM, PhD, president of PetSmart Charities. “While July 5 is known as a day of high intake for local animal welfare organizations due to the noise and chaos associated with the Fourth of July holiday, even small barbecues and other summer events can cause distress that results in a pet fleeing for perceived safety.”
In honor of National Pet Loss Prevention Month, the experts from PetSmart Charities recommend these tips to prevent your pet from running off.
Practice effective “stay” techniques with your pet: Pets and pet parents who participate in behavioral training courses can learn effective ways to communicate during times of leisure or stress. Knowing simple commands like “stop,” “sit” or “stay” can help prevent a pet from running away.
Ensure your pet has proper identification: Microchips are a great way to ensure your pet is armed with the proper identification. To help decrease the number of pets that enter shelters each year across North America, PetSmart Charities supports low-cost microchipping programs in local communities. Whether you use tags, embroidered collars or microchips, make sure you update the information provided at least once a year to ensure the latest contact information is available to those who may find your pet.
Secure your pet’s surroundings: To prevent your pet from running away, provide a comfortable, yet contained environment that he or she may safely explore. This could include a fenced-in backyard during a family barbecue, the use of a leash at a local parade or access to favorite toys for a soothing escape. Don’t forget an ample supply of shade and water to help your pet stay cool and comfortable in the summer heat.
Inquire about calming solutions: Just like pet parents, pets can become sensitive to unexpected events and develop anxiety over time. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to destructive behavior, excessive barking or panting despite lack of exertion. If your pet is exhibiting extreme behavior, ask a veterinarian if calming solutions are a fit ahead of a large gathering.
Know how to handle a lost pet: If you see a lost pet, check his or her tags and contact the pet parent. If the pet shies away from contact, reach out to your local animal control department for assistance. If you lose a pet, contact your local animal control department or your neighborhood shelter to request assistance.
For more information about helping local pets in need, visit petsmartcharities.org.