Category Archives: pet safety rules

Have a Safe and Happy 4th of July!

By Julia Williams

On Independence Day, most people don’t bat an eye when they hear the pop-pop-pop sound of firecrackers going off all day long, or the thunderous boom of fireworks at night. Not me. As a “parent” of three cats who are terrified of those loud noises, I cringe when I see the garishly decorated fireworks stands popping up on every corner.

I dread July 4th and especially nightfall, because I live right across the street from where my town sets off their fireworks display. Those loud booms are unsettling for me; I can only imagine how scary they are for my pets, who have no idea what those noises mean. Are we being invaded? Is the world ending? Where can I hide? At that first boom, my skittish kitties make a beeline for UTB (under the bed) and I usually don’t see them until morning.

It’s made me something of a curmudgeon, hating the Fourth of July when I should be joyously and noisily celebrating freedom and independence like everyone else. Yet, more pets go missing on July 4th than any other day of the year, says the popular adoption site, Petfinder. Emergency pet hospitals also see an upswing of visits.

So while it’s nice to enjoy the backyard barbecues, picnics in the park and fireworks that have become an American tradition on the Fourth, responsible pet owners also need to take precautions to keep their four-legged family members safe (and as stress-free as possible).

Don’t take Fido to the fireworks display. This noisy, crowded scene can create anxiety and aggression in even the calmest of canines.

If you plan to set off personal fireworks, be sure to keep your dog in a safe location away from the display. Too many dogs have already been burned and otherwise injured by fireworks; it’s just not worth the risk.

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Teaching Pet Safety Rules to Kids

By Langley Cornwell

The dogs we share our lives with now have never been around young children. The one time that my sister-in-law brought her grandchild to our home, our dogs cowered in the corner of our bedroom during their entire visit.

If we are out taking a walk with our dogs and a young child runs towards us, we step between the child and the dog and divert the kid’s attention. We’re just not sure what would happen. Since we aren’t around kids often, we have not properly socialized our dogs in that area, and I’m sure we’re not the only ones.

In order to avoid any potential issues, why not err on the side of caution? If you are a parent of young children, it’s important to teach them sound pet safety rules.

If your child is approached by a strange dog

In these circumstances, it’s important to teach your kid to:

• Stand tall and firm, like a tree.
• Keep her hands down at her sides.
• Stare straight ahead. Don’t look at the dog. If your child looks into the dog’s eyes, the dog may interpret that as an invitation to fight.
• Stay still, never try to run away. Dogs have a prey drive and love to chase moving objects, even children.
• Keep quiet. Calling for help or screaming out of fear may scare the dog.
• When the dog loses interest, back away slowly, one step at a time.

If your child follows these steps, most dogs will simply take a few curious sniffs and then turn away. Still, it’s important to let your child know what to do if she is ever attacked by a dog. If the unthinkable happens and a dog attacks, your child must curl up in a tight ball and cover her face with her hands.

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