Fourth of July warnings, tips for pet owners

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Fireworks may be fun for people, but they are often terrifying for pets. According to the Humane Society of the United States, more pets go missing on July 4 than any other day of the year.

Animal Friends of the Valleys, the contract shelter for Canyon Lake, warns pet owners that they could face hefty fines if their pets are impounded on July 4.

Standard fees at Animal Friends of the Valleys are based on compliant and non-compliant pets. The minimum fee for a compliant dog is $52 and up to $277 for non-compliant dogs. Boarding fees of $12 per day apply. For dogs impounded on July 4, owners will incur an additional fee of $90.

Animal experts, such as Cesar Milan from the television show The Dog Whisperer, agree that noises generated by fireworks affect the nervous system causing stress and anxiety in pets. Their first instinct is to run away. Loose pets face the danger of being lost and never found or struck by vehicles.

The Humane Society of the United States recommends on their website, humanesociety.org, the following tips for pet owners on July 4:

  1. Keep your pet safely away from fireworks

Pet owners are advised to leave their pets safely indoors, preferably with a radio or television on to hide jarring noises. If you are going to an Independence Day event and cannot leave your pet unattended at home, keep the animal leashed and under your direct control at all times.

  1. If your pet is scared by fireworks, ask a veterinarian for help. There are medications and techniques that might help alleviate an animal’s fear and anxiety.
  2. Safeguard your pet with a collar and I.D. tag

All pets, even those kept indoors full-time, should always wear collars with ID tags. Indoor-only pets can become so frightened during fireworks displays that they may take desperate measures to escape the noise, including breaking through window or door screens. It’s also a good idea to have your pet microchipped..

If your pet is lost, contact Animal Friends of the Valleys at 951-674-0618. The shelter is located at 33751 Mission Trail in Wildomar. Hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

AFV has a spay and neuter clinic and also offers vaccinations and microchip implants at the old shelter location, 29001 Bastron Ave. in Lake Elsinore. It’s open Mondays and Thursdays only. For an appointment, call 951-674-7729 (SPAY) or 951-374-3491.

Residents can help save animals that would otherwise be put down by providing temporary housing through AFV’s foster program.

Visit animalfriendsofthevalleys.com to view available animals, for more information or to make a gift that can be designated for litter or canned wet food with a personal note in the section provided, or call 951-471-8344.

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