Fireworks are no treat for pets: How to keep them safe this Fourth of July

Fireworks can spook pets and cause them to run from home. Here are some tips to keep them safe. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

As fireworks boom, pets bolt, and Kern County Animal Services is offering tips on how to keep your pet safe.

Nick Cullen, director of Kern County Animal Services, said they see an increase in pets coming to the shelter around the Fourth of July. He said they also see a big increase in people coming to the shelter looking for their pet.

"Animals don't understand holidays," he said. "All they understand is that there are explosions going on outside."

He said they mostly see dogs getting spooked and responding with fight or flight.

"If you have your animal in your backyard and all of a sudden he or she hears explosives, they're going to do what they can do to get out of that backyard," Cullen said. "Most people are surprised. They think their backyard is secure, until those fireworks go off."

Cullen said if possible, stay home with your four-legged friend.

"If you can't be home, leave the animal with somebody that you trust," he said. "And if all else fails, and you have to keep the dog inside, make sure they're in a cool, lit place where it's safe for them, they have access to fresh food and water, and there is nothing of value within biting distance."

If your pet does go missing, there are three animal shelters you can check in Kern County:

  1. Kern County Animal Services
  2. SPCA
  3. City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center

"Your first bet is as soon as you know an animal is missing, is to visit your animal shelter in person," Cullen said. "Nobody knows your animal like you. Don't trust a picture online. Go down, check the kennels."

Cullen said there are ways to prepare before the firework shows. He said to make sure your pet has current identification.

"Whether that be a name tag, phone, or address on its collar, or microchips," he said. "Microchips are so important."

Social media is also a great way to search for a missing pet.

Volunteers with Animal Services started a group called Pet Detective. They search social media, and work to get your pet back to you.

Cullen said even though they expect to see an increase in animals coming to the shelter this next week, they never reach a capacity and will always welcome animals.

"If you don't see them in the shelter today, it doesn't mean that it's not going to be there later today, it doesn't mean it won't be here tomorrow, or the next day," Cullen said.

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