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How to keep your pets safe during summer holiday celebrations

Dr. Lynn Happel says there's a 30% uptick in lost pets nationwide just after the fourth of July.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — It’s time once again for loud summer celebrations! And while it's important to remember that not every member of your family, specifically pets enjoy the noise of fireworks, this year, pets have adapted to a new normal living in quarantine. So experts say its even more important to ensure they are safe!  

Dr. Lynn Happel is a veterinarian and owner of Eastown Veterinary Clinic. She says if families plan to leave pets at home during fourth of July celebrations, they should create a safe space for them. 

“The whole quarantine and increase in separation anxiety is definitely a valid concern," says Dr. Happel. "A lot of people have their dog crate trained or have them trained to a safe space, so if you are going to leave them alone make sure they have a safe space. And if you know that they have a sensitivity to noise do things like leaving the fan or radio or the TV or something else to help drown out the noise."

Happel says exercising dogs during the day could help with calmness. Also, she says reinforcing a positive reaction to any loud noises with a treat is good way to help the dog deal with sound.

The Humane Society of West Michigan reports that typically they see an increase in pets going missing in the first week of July.

“Its kind of a combination of a perfect storm a little bit," says Amy Stockero, Director of Development and Marketing at HSWMI. "This year is a little different, but usually the fourth of July means a lot of people come over or you go somewhere so door don’t always latch all the way. It also happens with gates, people coming in or out of the backyard. And then that’s combined with the fact that fireworks can be really startling so animals can try to get away.”

According to Happel, nationwide about 30% of dogs are lost or leave home around the time of the holiday fireworks.

The experts agree that to keep pets safe, keep them attached to their leash. Never remove collars or dog tags, and if a dog does not already have one, get the dog micro-chipped.

Veterinary offices and clinics, including Eastown Veterinary Clinic can micro-chip pets at an time, and say there is still time to schedule a appointment ahead of the holiday weekend.  

“It can be done as a technician visit," said Happel. "We scan to make sure there’s not already a micro-chip placed, then we place the micro-chip and essentially it’s the size of a grain of rice. If the pet were to run away and be recovered, the chip would be scanned and we have access to a database to find proper contact information."

Happel also reminders pets owners that its important to keep that contact information up-to-date. 

To learn more or to donate to the Humane Society of West Michigan, click here. 

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