Protecting pets on the Fourth of July

A dog at an animal shelter, where stray pets are sometimes found after running away due to Fourth of July fireworks. (Riverside County Department of Animal Services / April 3, 2013)

Officials in Riverside County are urging people to take precautions to protect their pets when Fourth of July fireworks explode Thursday.

The noise can be a frightening and fatal experience for many pets, officials said.

Last year, more than 300 dead animals were recovered the day after the Fourth of July, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services said.

It was the highest number of dead animals recovered in a single day since the department began tracking Fourth of July statistics in 2006.

"Clearly, we still have a lot of work to do in educating our community about how traumatic the Fourth of July holiday can be for pets," said Robert Miller, director of the Animal Services Department.

Department officials said that dogs will do anything they can to escape the noise of fireworks. Many have run away; others have wedged themselves in dangerous spaces such as sidewalk culverts.

Officials advise owners to place their pets in quiet, sheltered, escapeproof areas of their homes. Dogs can be given treats to chew, which helps keep them occupied.

Click on the following link for a full list of pet safety tips.

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