Every year on the 5th of July, lost animals wind up at animal shelters all across the nation. The reason: Fourth of July fireworks. Cats and dogs often become alarmed and disoriented during July 4th celebrations and may bolt from their yards or homes, resulting in a lost pet and a heartbroken owner. The best option is to leave them at home. Adam Goldfarb, director of the Pets at Risk program for the Humane Society of the United States says, “Pets are family members, and it’s understandable that people want to include them in their holiday plans. However, most pets will be more comfortable staying at home. Spare our furry friends the stress of fireworks, crowds, and fanfare on the Fourth of July.”

If your pet is frightened of thunder or other loud noises, veterinarian Janet Crosby recommends trying behavior modification. This involves playing a recording of thunder at very low levels. Dr. Crosby says to use the time to reassure your pet that everything is fine. Gradually increase the volume slowly over time, if your pet is able to handle the sounds without getting stressed. She urges pet owners to start slow and be sure to praise your pet for being calm.

Here are some other precautions pet owners should take during the Fourth of July:

• Resist the urge to take your pet to fireworks displays and never use fireworks around pets. Obviously, severe burns can result if your pet is exposed to lit fireworks. In addition, unused fireworks can be dangerous to pets. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic, and other heavy metals. Also be aware that certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases.

• Do not leave your pet in the car during fireworks. Aside from experiencing heat stroke in a hot car, pets can also injure themselves trying to escape from a car if they are frightened of fireworks.

• Keep your pets indoors at home in a sheltered, quiet area. It’s best to keep your pets in a locked room that’s pet-proofed. Scared animals can become destructive and may be harmed if they ingest something they shouldn’t.

• Experts recommend leaving a television or radio on to keep your pet company. There’s a music series called “through a dog’s ear” that claims to provide clinically tested solutions to anxiety issues for dogs. For more information, visit www.throughadogsear.com.

• If you know that 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. You may want to consider having someone remain home with your pet.

• Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. Pets who normally won’t leave the yard, may escape at the sound of fireworks. It’s best to keep all pets inside.

• Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned. Since shelters receive numerous stray animals after a fireworks event, make sure your pet doesn’t become a statistic. Ensure that proper identification is on all your pets.

While I am all in favor of celebrating our country’s independence, I would like to see a shift from fireworks to alternative but equally impressive displays. Laser light shows are just as remarkable as fireworks, but cause less pollution, are less of a fire danger, don’t displace wild animals, and are much more humane.


Courtesy Photo

Update on Mikey the Pitbull

In a previous column, I introduced you to an abandoned puppy named Mikey, who was in need of financial assistance after suffering from a broken shoulder and a leg injury. Due to the efforts of CARE4Paws, who took up Mikey’s cause, and the generous donations that poured in, several thousand dollars were raised to help pay for Mikey’s surgery.

Among the generous donors were CARE Hospital and Tri-County Produce, whose employees were so moved by Mikey’s story, that they collected $110 and owner, John Dixon, matched their donation, bringing the total to $220! CARE Hospital donated $5,000 to CARE4Paws’ medical fund, part of which made Mikey’s surgery possible.

Today, Mikey is recovering in the home of Camilla Karlsson, one of CARE Hospital’s dedicated vet technicians. After Mikey fully recovers from his ordeal, he’ll be ready for the next step … finding his forever home. If you’re interested in adopting a great dog, goofy smile and all, contact CARE4Paws at 968-2273.

Fundraiser / Offsite Adoption Event at Fairview Car Wash

Fairview Car Wash and Detail Center at Calle Real and Fairview Avenue is having a Benefit Days on Sunday, July 10, for K-9 PALS to raise funds for the rescue dogs at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter. Bring your dirty car, truck, van, or SUV to Fairview Car Wash and Detail between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and purchase any of the washes or detail services. Present the Benefit Days promotional flyer—available on the K-9 PALS website (www.K-9PALS.org) when you pay your bill. Smart phones can scan the QR code and present the image at time of purchase. k-9pals.org/images

Fairview Car Wash and Detail Center will donate at least 30 percent of your purchase to K-9 PALS to help the dogs at the Santa Barbara County Shelter. K-9 PALS volunteers with adoptable dogs will be onsite between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to greet all customers.

Fairview Car Wash and Detail Center is located at 42 North Fairview Avenue in Goleta.

Benefit Dinner

The Santa Barbara County Animal Care Foundation will be holding a Benefit Dinner on Sunday, August 7, 4 p.m. at the Santa Maria Elks Lodge. The afternoon will feature dinner, a silent auction and celebrity guest Shorty Rossi, star of Animal Planet’s Pit Boss.” Tickets are $50 per person; table of 10 for $500; advance purchase only, no tickets will be sold at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Linda Greco, fyrefly9785@msn.com or leave a message at (805) 260-2386.

Adoptable Pet of the Week


Lola is an adorable 8-pound Chihuahua. She’s still a pup really, only 11 month old. She has already been spayed. Lola is a happy-go-lucky puppy, who loves to play with other dogs. She also loves squeaky toys and is a big snuggler!

To inquire about adopting Lola, visit DAWG in Santa Barbara. DAWG (Dog Adoption and Welfare Group) is a no-kill not for profit dog rescue/ adoption organization located at 5480 Overpass Road in Goleta. For more information, call: (805) 681-0561.

You can view more adoptable dogs at www.sbdawg.com. The public is invited to stop by and look around every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. DAWG relies on volunteers to take care of all the dogs, so if you love dogs, think about volunteering! Students are able to fulfill their volunteer community service requirement by volunteering. Volunteer orientations are generally held every other Saturday at 10 a.m. Please contact DAWG for the next meeting.


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