New Year’s Eve, Independence Day, and other holidays are exciting events for us humans, but some pets are severely distressed by the noise of fireworks. Remember, dogs’ and cats’ hearing is much more sensitive than ours so those loud booms can be extremely uncomfortable! Here are some tips for keeping your pets safe and calm during the holiday festivities.

First and foremost, it’s important to know how to approach or interact with your pet if they are frightened. Your Dog Advisor stresses the importance of speaking in a calm voice and having non-threatening body posture when interacting with an anxious or frightened pet. You must go at your pet’s pace, as forcing a fearful dog or cat to do something will only make matters worse. If you try to touch or engage your pet before they are ready, it will only cause them more anxiety and fear. Make sure your body language is completely non-threatening. Your pet is already scared, so you don’t want to frighten them even more! Appear relaxed, approach them from an angle instead of head-on, and speak in a soft voice to let your pet know you are trustworthy.

Keep all pets safely confined indoors on the holidays and the days leading up to them when people may be inclined to set off fireworks. There are many family and group activities that are perfect for pets, but a public fireworks display or any other type of gathering where fireworks will be set off usually isn’t one of them.

It’s best to leave your pets safely indoors, preferably with a radio or TV on at normal volume (too loud makes things worse) to dampen jarring noises. Pets usually kept outdoors should be brought inside as an extra measure of safety.

Never leave your pet in a parked car, even at night during a fireworks display. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise to dangerous levels within minutes. On an 85 degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car even with the windows cracked open can reach 102 degrees within just 10 minutes; after 30 minutes the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Even when the temperature outside is a balmy 72 degrees, the temperature inside your car can rocket to a fatal 116 degrees in less than an hour’s time.

Consult our animal hospital or your veterinarian if your pet is distressed by loud noises like fireworks displays. There are a variety of medications and techniques to help alleviate your pet’s fear and anxiety.

Invest in a Thundershirt. Our shelter has had great success with Thundershirts for our pets who are easily stressed by loud noises and other causes of anxiety. Visit the Thundershirts website to find out more about these great tools.

Ensure your pet is wearing a collar and identification tag with current contact information so you can be reunited quickly if your pet does escape. We also suggest writing your name and phone number in permanent ink on the inside of your pet’s collar, just in case the tags get lost. All pets, even those kept indoors full-time, should wear collars with identification tags at all times. Indoor-only animals can become so frightened during fireworks displays that they take desperate measures to escape the noise, such as breaking through window or door screens.

Microchip your pet with your current contact information registered with the chip company. This gives your pet the best chance of being identified and returned to you. Our animal hospital offers microchipping for just $30.

If your pet does become lost, visit our Lost and Found Pets page for tips on what to do.

The Arithmetic of Saving Lives

The math is elementary: two are greater than one. We can get more accomplished when we work together. That is the philosophy we share with Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center and our partnership continues to prove successful for the animals. Since 2012, we have focused our joint efforts on reducing the euthanasia rate in Hillsborough County through progressive initiatives that are saving lives:

TNVR: In 2012 we strengthened our partnership with a county-endorsed program to Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return feral and community cats. Feral and community cats brought to the county shelter are transferred to our facility for sterilization and vaccination, then returned to their neighborhoods to live out their lives. This has resulted in improved stabilization of the cat population as well as a decrease of 47{7745412d95a2321b406eae40e1de3a46791e79f925cd769a0bc2e92f1240c8bc} in the county’s cat euthanasia rate.

STRAY INTAKE:  In 2016 we were sanctioned by the county to keep any stray animal turned in to us, rather than having to transfer them to the county shelter. Since implementing this procedure we have kept more than 5,000 animals out of the county shelter.

TRANSFERS: Since 2008, we have visited PRC on an almost weekly basis to transfer dogs and cats from their facility to ours, space permitting.

The extra space these three practices have provided at the Pet Resource Center has resulted in fewer animals being euthanized for space or for being unadoptable (as is the case with feral cats). Since the inception of these initiatives, the county’s euthanasia rate* has plummeted from 61{7745412d95a2321b406eae40e1de3a46791e79f925cd769a0bc2e92f1240c8bc} to 13{7745412d95a2321b406eae40e1de3a46791e79f925cd769a0bc2e92f1240c8bc}, an incredible achievement.

*For some perspective, the nationally accepted Save Rate a shelter must obtain to be considered “no-kill” is 90{7745412d95a2321b406eae40e1de3a46791e79f925cd769a0bc2e92f1240c8bc}, which translates to a euthanasia rate of 10{7745412d95a2321b406eae40e1de3a46791e79f925cd769a0bc2e92f1240c8bc}.

Below are some of the furry faces we transferred from the county shelter this past week (June 18-22).

Help your pets weather the SWARM

Summer is here and with the warm breezes, sparkling seas, and colorful blooms comes a whole host of critters that can harm your pets! Here in Florida, we deal with pests all year long, but even more so in the hot, steamy months when they thrive. It is more important than ever to protect your pet from bites, irritations, and diseases that these tiny troops can cause. Our animal hospital is stocked with the necessary medications to keep your pets safe, all at affordable costs!

FLEAS

  • Fleas are the most common external parasites found on pets
  • Fleas bite the skin and feed on blood
  • Fleas can jump up to 2 feet
  • Fleas can live as long as 12 months
  • Fleas can produce millions of offspring during their lifetime
  • Many pets are allergic to fleas and their bites cause dermatitis
  • Fleas can also cause itching, hair loss and hot spots
  • Fleas can transmit tapeworms to pets

TICKS

  • Ticks are in the arachnid family and feed on blood
  • Ticks bury their heads in their hosts skin and gorge on blood
  • Ticks tend to live in tall brush and grass
  • Ticks can cause
    • blood loss
    • anemia
    • tick paralysis
    • skin irritation and infection
    • Lyme disease (can be fatal if left untreated)
    • Cytauxzoonosis (fatal, no known cure)

MOSQUITOES

  • Mosquitoes are the most problematic parasite because they carry deadly Heartworms
  • Heartworm larvae are transmitted from mosquitoes to pets
  • The larvae travel through the blood to the heart, lungs and blood vessels
  • The larvae grow into spaghetti-like Heartworms
  • Heartworms can grow up to 12 inches long
  • Heartworms clog organs and obstruct blood flow leading to trouble breathing and possible cardiac arrest
  • Heartworms can be fatal if left untreated

PREVENTION

Monthly topical or oral medications are available that kill and/or sterilize fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes when they bite your animal. While these flea/tick preventions are available at supermarkets, Walmarts, and the like, we highly recommend getting them from a licensed veterinarian. Heartworm prevention is only available with a prescription and requires bloodwork every 6 – 12 months.  Whichever product you choose, it is very important not to use products on your cat that are intended for dogs. Cats who have been poisoned by taking flea/tick/heartworm medicine for dogs are a regular occurrence at our animal hospital and many of them do not survive.

Pets have special places in our hearts. No matter who you are or where you are from, pets are family. We play, snuggle, and feed these sweet animals everyday… but sometimes it is not always that easy. There are some people in the Tampa Bay area, who cannot always give their furry friend a proper meal. Whether it is because they are having a difficult time affording pet food or they are home bound to where they cannot shop for pet food – we have the solution: Animeals and Free Pet Food Assistance.

Animeals
For many years, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay has offered “Animeals”, a monthly service where we deliver pet food to homebound and elderly citizens. We expanded the program in 2011 when Meals on Wheels (MOW) contacted us for help. They were receiving reports from their drivers that many of the people receiving meals were giving half of their food to their pets. For a lot of them, their animals are the only companions they have and are treasured. It broke our hearts to learn that so many were sacrificing their own health in order to feed their dogs or cats. As a result, we partnered with MOW Tampa to ensure that no pet in Tampa Bay is left with out food.

If you or someone you know are in need of monthly pet food delivery, you can apply here (recipients must qualify): http://mariam22.sg-host.com/food-assistance/  or contact Lon Savini, Shelter Manager, at 904-894-0139 or lons@humanesocietytampa.org

Free Pet Food Assistance
For those citizens struggling to feed their animals but who are mobile and able to get to our shelter, we offer free dog and cat food every Tuesday from 12pm to 3pm and every Saturday from 10am to 1pm. Our shelter is located at 3607 N Armenia Avenue. Receiving food assistance is on a first-come, first-served basis. Recipients must provide proof of residence. For more information about free food assistance, please call 813-876-7138 ext 0.

If you would like to help those owners and pets in need, please donate a bag of pet food to our shelter.

We love summer in Florida, but the high temperatures and blazing sun can be hard on pets. From heatstroke to burned paws, summer can be dangerous for our furry friends!

Download our Summer Safety Tip Sheet and our No Pets Left In Cars Handout to make sure you’ve got all the bases covered.

If you suspect that your pet is suffering from a heat-related cause, please contact our Animal Hospital at 813-870-3304 or an Emergency Veterinary Clinic immediately.

Did you know that if you see a pet left in a car you can call AAA and they will send someone to help immediately? Just call them at 1-800-AAA-HELP (222-4357) or notify your local law enforcement agency.

Stay safe this summer!

Media contact: 813.785.6922

This November Florida voters will be faced with a choice; whether to say “Yes” or “No” to Amendment 13, a Constitutional Amendment that would phase out greyhound racing in the state of Florida by December 31, 2020. Animal welfare advocates, dog lovers, and Greyhound enthusiasts have worked tirelessly and for years to bring this amendment to voters believing that the citizens of Florida will stand with the dogs. On April 16th, this dream became a reality when Proposal 6012 was passed by the Constitution Revision Commission with a 27 to 10 vote. Now the fate of dog racing in Florida, and the lives of thousands of greyhounds, are in the hands of voters.

In an effort to advocate for Amendment 13, Grey2K USA and the Humane Society of the United States have teamed up to create Protect Dogs – Yes on 13, a grassroots campaign that informs voters about the cruelty of dog racing. The campaign has chosen to make it’s official launch at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay (3607 N Armenia Avenue) with a press conference at 10:00am, on Monday, June 4th. Campaign leaders chose HSTB as the site of this historic moment because it is “one of the leading animal welfare organizations in the state.”

“The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is proud to stand with greyhounds and is hopeful that the people of Florida will make history by voting in favor of Amendment 13 in November,” said Sherry Silk, HSTB Chief Executive Officer. “We hold Greyhounds in the same esteem as any of our other dogs and consider them worthy of compassion, protection, and loving homes.”

Press conference attendees will include government officials and animal welfare leaders and advocates including State Senator Dana Young, Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, Protect Dogs – Yes on 13 Co-Chair Kate McFall, Protect Dogs – Yes on 13 Co-Chair Joyce Carta, HSTB CEO Sherry Silk, grassroots volunteers, and rescued greyhounds.

The public and the media are invited to join us for the press conference.