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Beware: Your pets can be frightened by fireworks

SAN DIEGO -- Your family pets can become frightened and frantic because of the noise and commotion of Independence Day celebrations, County Animal Services officials warned today.

“The noise generated by fireworks displays and other noisemakers on the Fourth of July can frighten pets and trigger an escape or flight response that can cause serious injury - or even death - to your pet,” Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson said.

“To seek safety from loud noises, pets may dig under, climb over, or break through gates, screens, fences, windows, or doors and injure themselves or become lost,” Danielson said. “And anytime a pet is running at large, it is exposed to the even greater dangers of injury from vehicles or other animals.”

Animal Services offers these tips to keep your pets safe during Independence Day celebrations:

• Resist the urge to take your pet to fireworks displays.

• Do not leave your pet in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects, even death, in a few minutes.

• Keep your pets indoors in a sheltered, quiet area. Some dogs may become destructive when frightened, so be sure to remove dangerous objects your pet may chew. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep your pet company while you’re away.

• Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard. In their fear, pets that normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and get lost.

• If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th to see if medication that relieves anxiety is appropriate.

• Ensure your pets are easily identifiable and call the department at (619) 236-4250 if you have found a lost pet. The department’s shelters are located in Carlsbad, Bonita and Gaines Street in San Diego. Although the shelters will be closed July 4 and July 5, Animal Control officers will be on duty. Lost pets found with internal microchip identification and/or external ID tags or licenses are more readily reunited with their owners. If you have lost your pet, visit the shelter closest to you on Tuesday, July 6, or check the department’s website at www.sddac.com.