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Nevada SPCA wants to ensure that your pets are kept out of shelters and in their homes this 4th of July.

Independence Day is one of the riskiest days of the year for your pet to escape its home due to stress brought on by fireworks. According to the American Humane Association, July 5th is one of the busiest days at shelters across the country.

There are some basic safety measures that you can take prior to the festivities to keep your pet safe. One of the most important precautions is making sure that your pet is microchipped and that the chip is registered with your current information. Additionally, ensure that your pet is wearing a secure collar and that its tags are up to date.

During 4th of July celebrations keep your pet indoors, including any cats with outdoor access. A highly stressed animal is prone to getting scared and escaping out of yards. Create a safe haven for your pet; including a crate or keeping your pet inside of a small, secure room such as a bathroom. Anxious pets have been known to break through screens and push doors open, so locked doors and windows are best. This also prevents people from inadvertently opening the door and letting your pet out. Turn the TV on or play calming music to drown out the fireworks and insulate them from outside noise. Draw the curtains or blinds to protect against flashing lights. Engage your dog with a special toy, or long-lasting chew treat to distract them. This works well for food-motivated dogs, even during highly stressful times. Provide hiding spaces for your cat to make them feel more comfortable; including setting up a carrier or utilizing a closet or space underneath a bed where they can retreat.

“I encourage pet owners to stay at home to comfort your pet” says Executive Director Lori Heeren. “By staying home, you can best monitor your pet and ensure that they do not injure themselves or damage anything.” Some pets will shut down when they become frightened which can be extremely dangerous; rabbits and guinea pigs, for example, can enter a GI stasis, a condition that can cause their digestive systems to stop functioning and can possibly be fatal without immediate treatment. “We want you to have an enjoyable holiday, and to keep the safety and wellbeing of your beloved pet top of mind.”

Nevada SPCA is located at 4800 W. Dewey Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89118. The shelter is temporarily closed to the public but can be reached by calling (702) 873-7722 or by email at info@nevadaspca.org. Regular hours of operation are Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment only. Visit nevadaspca.org for additional information.