by Mark Hufford, Executive Director, PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap
With beautiful weather and dozens of festive events unfolding, please remember that changes of routine and simple holiday activities can spell trouble for our family pets. A few common-sense safety precautions:
- Never leave pets in a closed car, even for just a few minutes with the window cracked. Outdoor temperatures in the 70s degree F can soar to 130 degree F or more inside a closed car in a matter of minutes.
- Understand that fireworks provoke extreme fear reactions in most animals. Keep dogs and cats indoors from dusk to dawn on evenings when there are likely to be fireworks. Playing a television or radio in the room with your pet can help mask some of the noise. Keep all windows and doors closed (even second-story windows) and try to behave normally yourself, showing your pet that there is nothing to be afraid of.
- If you’ve hired a pet sitter, make sure they’ve taken precautions to address fireworks-inspired fear reactions in your animals.
- Make sure pets have plenty of cool water and shade available.
- Bones from your party’s chicken or steak, or even corn cobs, can be deadly choking hazards for your pet. Place picnic and party refuse into a sealed trash can immediately and don’t feed your pet leftovers.
- Pick up all fireworks debris immediately. Don’t leave it until the next morning, as it provides shapes that are curiously attractive to pets and wildlife, as well as being highly toxic. Notify neighbors if you’re planning to set off fireworks. Take extra precautions walking your pets along beaches and shorelines until all fireworks debris is removed.
- If your pet escapes and becomes lost, contact www.kitsaplostpets.org as quickly as possible. This is a dedicated website where you can list your cat or dog who has gone missing, or take a look at pictures or descriptions that might match a pet you have found.
Photos by Julie Hall, 2011.