AUSTIN -- The Austin Humane Society is encouraging pet owners to take precautions before the July 4th fireworks displays commence.
The shelter says fireworks explosions present great stress to pets, particularly dogs.
Here are some tips to keep animals safe and calm this holiday weekend:
Never use fireworks around pets. Exposure to active fireworks can result in burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets. Unlit fireworks are dangerous as well. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.
Keep all pets safely indoors when fireworks are set off. Resist the urge to take your furry friend to a crowded gathering. It’s best to leave your pet safely indoors, preferably with a radio or TV turned on to dampen jarring noises. Outdoor pets should be brought inside as an extra measure of safety.
Collars and ID tags are good fashion. Frightened indoor animals can take desperate measures to escape the noise, such as breaking through windows or screen doors. Proper ID will help get your pet home safely. Microchipped pets are 200 percent more likely to be reunited with their owners. Don't have your pet microchipped? You can have that done for free at the Austin Animal Center.
Create a safe place. This must be a safe location from the dog’s perspective, not yours. Notice where it goes (or tries to go) when frightened. If possible, give it access to that place. Consider using a fan or radio near the spot to help block out the sound.
Distract your pet. When your pet becomes anxious, encourage it to engage in any activity that captures its attention and distracts it from behaving fearfully. Get out the tennis ball. Play fetch (in an escape-proof area). Or practice familiar commands. Reward it with praise and treats.
Help a lost pet find their home. All lost pets should first be taken to the address on their tag. If not, Austin residents should call the Austin Animal Center (3-1-1). Williamson County residents should call the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter (512-943-3322).