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Jul 2, 2012 7:23 PM

Keep your pets safe this July 4

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. - Every July 4, animal shelter nationwide receive an influx of "July 4 Dogs," dogs who run off during fireworks celebrations and are rescued by animal control or good Samaritans.

"Pets are family members, and it's understandable that we want to include them in our holiday plans," said Jeff Ingerson, Sierra Vista Animal Control Officer. "However, most pets will be more comfortable staying at home. Spare your furry friends the stress of fireworks, crowds and fanfare on the Fourth of July."

The city of Sierra Vista has provided an extensive and helpful list of basic precautions that you can take to prevent your pet problems on Independence Day:

Leave pets at home: There are many family and group activities that are perfect for pets, but a public fireworks display or a picnic, cookout or any other type of gathering where fireworks will be set off is not one of them - please resist the urge to take your pets to such an event.

Don't 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 short minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but they do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.

Give pets shelter: Keep your pets indoors at home in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you have removed any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep them accompanied while you're attending Fourth of July picnics, parades, and other celebrations.

Keep it quiet: If your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays.

Pay attention: Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally would not leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.

Tag Pets: Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly. Animals found are usually taken to the Nancy J. Brua Animal Care Center, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.

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