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Holidays bring influx to animal shelters

Tips for caring for your pets during the holidays

  • During fireworks, make sure your dogs or cats are in safe, indoor places where they cannot escape or get hurt. Turn on music or television for comforting background noise. You also can play a game with them or give them a favorite toy.
  • If your pets are especially nervous about fireworks, consult your family veterinarian about whether to give them anti-anxiety medicine. But this is a step you should take at least a day or two before the fireworks start popping so you can see how your pet will respond to the medication. Another option is to buy a specially designed, snug-fitting jacket which comforts dogs by applying pressure around their bodies.
  • After the family barbecue, don’t treat your dogs to leftover bones from steak, ribs, chicken or other human food. The bones often splinter and may become a choking hazard.
  • The safest policy is to avoid giving human food to pets because so much of it can be harmful to them. If you want your pets to celebrate along with you, buy them a few extra pet treats while stocking up on your own groceries.
  •  Don’t let your pets stay outside in the heat for long periods of time, especially if they’re not used to it. If pets do get overheated, spray them down with water that is cool or room temperature – but never ice water, which causes a decrease in blood flow to the skin and makes things even worse.

As everyone gears up for Independence Day and summer vacations, an undernoted story is often pets who are left behind.

Newton County Animal Control has seen an influx of animals being dropped off or left at home during July 4th week in the past, according to Teri Key-Hooson, Animal Control director.

Increases in incoming pets tend to happen on any holiday, Key-Hooson said, as well as during the summer months. She said families may go on vacation or take the opportunity to move while kids are not in school. Pets can become too much or a burden in either of those instances, she said.

"It appears to be a hard time for animals all around during the holidays," Key-Hooson said.

Immediately after July 4th is a high-volume time, too, she said. Dogs get easily scared by fireworks and may break through windows or escape from behind a fence.

Pets are found either by being brought in by their owners or after Animal Control has to go retrieve them.

The shelter has crates they can use during overflow times, but Key-Hooson said they would rather it not come to that.

"Treat your animals," Key-Hooson said, "like you would treat your children."