While the Fourth of July is a great time to enjoy the outdoors and socializing with neighbors, local animal experts warn to leave the furry family members at home.

The Arizona Humane Society says that each year following the Fourth of July, they see a slight increase in the amount of dogs coming into their shelter.

“Any time there is an event involving fireworks, whether it is the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve or anything like that, there’s always the chance that we will see stray animals coming in whose owners are looking for them,” said Bretta Nelson, Public relations manager for the Arizona Humane Society. “I know people love to take their pets to Fourth of July festivities and you may have the most well-behaved, wonderful pet that goes so many places with you, but they can certainly get spooked from the fireworks and … run away, get loose from their collar or leash, get hit by a car or just get lost from you.”

Even pets that don’t get spooked from loud noises may be in danger. Animals may succumb to the heat much quicker than humans, and possible dust storms can cause even more problems.

“I think we tend to get use to the heat and we sometimes forget that our furry friends are furry first and foremost, so they have that extra layer that makes them heat up a little quicker, and of course their bodies are closer to the ground, so the heat rising from the pavement can heat them up as well,” Nelson said. “They can’t tell us when they are hurting. A lot of times, our pets want to be out with us doing activities and being energetic, and they’re not always going to tell us when too much is too much. We need to be the ones to notice that.”

The Humane Society recommends leaving pets at home, preferably indoors.

“If you are heading out to firework festivities, leave them at home, maybe put the doggy door on,” Nelson said. “They could even be in the backyard and get spooked by fireworks and a dog that has never jumped the fence or dug out may get loose that way.”

Setting up some background noise like a TV or radio can also help dogs feel comfortable, Nelson said. Keep toys out for your pets and make sure they have plenty of water around.

“When they do get nervous, they pant a lot, which causes them to get dehydrated, so make sure they have a lot of water nearby,” she said. “Just try to make them as comfortable as possible and then when you get home, they’ll be safe and sound.”

Pet owners should never leave pets in the car. Even with the window cracked, cars can heat up very quickly and the situation can be deadly. Anyone who sees a pet left in a car is encouraged to call 911.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

Fourth of July safety tips from Arizona Humane Society

• Keep pets indoors and away from fireworks. Pets can easily be harmed by or spooked by loud fireworks, causing them to run away, which can be disastrous on busy streets and in extreme summer heat.

• Refrain from taking pets to weekend festivities that involve firework displays. These loud displays can easily frighten pets and can cause even those with the best manners to run off.

• Pay close attention to your pets at all times. Do not leave pets unattended in the backyard as fireworks can send them over the fence or digging to get out. Table food and alcohol can also cause pets to become ill.

• Keep pets in a quiet, escape-proof room in which they feel safe and protected. Background TV or radio noise may help as well as their toys, bedding, food and water.

• Have plenty of water nearby. Animals that are panicked will pant and become dehydrated, and often will not move to look for a water source. Place a bowl of water directly beside your pet.

• Make sure pets have multiple forms of up-to-date identification. Pets can easily wiggle out of collars and ID tags, therefore up-to-date microchips are best.

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