Why spay/neuter your pet?
By spaying or neutering your pet, you’ll help control pet homelessness crisis, which results in millions of healthy dogs and cats being euthanized* in the United States annually simply because there aren’t enough homes.

What are some of the medical benefits?
Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life. Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases. Neutering your male pet prevents testicular cancer and prostate problems.

What are some of the behavioral benefits?
Your spayed female pet won’t go into heat.
Your male dog will be less likely to roam away from home
Your neutered male may be better behaved. Some aggression problems may be avoided by early neutering.

Help your pet live a longer, healthier, and happier lifestyle by making an appointment with our Animal Hospital to have them spayed/neutered. Please contact them at 813-870-3304

*The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is a managed admissions no-kill-for-space shelter. We do not euthanize an animal to make room for another. Our 2020 save rate was 93%.

As we continue to have record breaking temperatures in Tampa, it is important for all pet owners to learn about pet heatstroke and heatstroke prevention.

What is heatstroke?
Heatstroke is a state of hyperthermia resulting in heat injury to tissues. Heatstroke occurs when heat generation exceeds the body’s ability lose heat.

What causes heatstroke?
• A warm/hot, humid environment with inadequate ventilation
• Inadequate shade
• Inadequate drinking water
• Excessive exercise

What can are some symptoms of heatstroke?
• Panting which increases as heatstroke progresses
• Agitation or restlessness
• Very red or pale gums
• Bright red tongue
• Increase heart rate
• Vomiting or diarrhea
• Mental confusion, delirium
• Dizziness, staggering
• Lethargy, weakness,
• Seizures or muscle tremors
• Collapsing and lying down
• Little to no urine production

What should you do if you suspect your pet has a heatstroke?
• Remove your pet from the hot environment immediately
• Apply or spray tepid/cool (do not use ice cold water) water onto their fur and skin
• Wetting down the area around your pet can also help
• Take your pet to the nearest Veterinarian immediately

What can you do to prevent heatstroke?
• Have a cool, well-ventilated space for your pet
• All pets should have access to plenty of fresh drinking water at all times
• Never leave your pet in a car
• Avoid exercising animals in hot water
• Avoid hot sand, concrete or asphalt areas

Protect your pet financially against unexpected vet bills. When you leave with pet insurance in place, you are adopting with confidence and peace of mind for your new family member.  We recommend you purchase pet insurance your on the day of your adoption so that you have immediate coverage in case this pet gets sick or injured.

• 1 in 3 pets will require unexpected medical care this year
• Every 6 seconds, a pet owner receives a bill for at least $1,000
• Fetch by the Dodo pet insurance covers exam fees, diagnostic tests and medications, dental injury and disease, chronic and hereditary conditions
• Customize your plan based on your desired yearly coverage amounts, deductibles and reimbursement percentage
• If you enroll within 24 hours of adoption, there is no waiting period…your coverage would go into effect at midnight
• Average costs: $11-$19 per month for cats and $18-$35 per month for dogs

Reasons Why Adopting is Important

  • Because you’ll save a life. Each year, it′s estimated that more than one million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States, simply because too many pets come into shelters and too few people consider adoption when looking for a pet.

  • Because you can help stop unkind and inhumane puppy mills. Puppy mills are breeding facilities who put profit over the welfare and wellbeing of their dogs, leading to poor conditions, improper medical care, and more. Just last September a puppy mill was shut down in Tampa due to inhumane conditions, with over 350 dogs being handed over to Hillsborough County Pet Resources. If we stop shopping and adopt instead, puppy mills will cease to exist!

  • Because it is so much more affordable than shopping. All animals adopted from HSTB come spayed/ neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and dewormed. Those are fees you don’t have to pay for! Additionally, dogs adopted through the Dolly’s Dream Dogs program come with supplies and 3 complimentary sessions of in-home dog training.

  • Because you’ll be helping more than just one animal. By adopting, you free up space in the shelter for other animals in need!

  • Because studies show that having an animal has immense psychological, emotional, and physical benefits. Caring for a pet can provide a sense of fulfillment and purpose- and you can feel proud about saving a pet’s life when you adopt!

  • Because it feels good to change a pet’s life. Once you’ve adopted one, it’s hard to ever buy again!

  • Because your home will thank you. Many shelter animals come from previous owners and are already house-trained, so you won’t have to sacrifice your favorite rug or couch. Also, HSTB typically has information on animals who came from a previous home, so you won’t have to play the guessing game on whether or not they are good with kids and other animals, etc.

  • Because it supports an amazing cause. All of the proceeds from the adoption fee go right back to the shelter, so your adoption of one animal will help so many more!

  • Because you’re not just giving them a second chance. They’re giving you a new best friend!

  • Because the HSTB website makes it easy. Check out http://mariam22.sg-host.com/adoptions/ each morning to see all the animals up for adoption that day.

Still need convincing? Check us out on instagram (@HumaneSocietyTampaBay), Twitter (@HumaneTampaBay) and Facebook (Humane Society of Tampa Bay) for adoption stories and to see why people are so glad that they chose to adopt from HSTB!

Update 9/4/19: BAARK (Bahamas Alliance for Animal Rights and Kindness), the Bahama Humane Society, Veterinary Medical Association of Bahamas and Ministry of Agriculture have selected IFAW to be the lead international agency to lead the relief efforts for animals affected by Hurricane Dorian.
The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is on the list to take in animals when they become available and must be removed from the Island.
For people that want to volunteer services or give donations they should email doriananimalrelief@gmail.com. The subject line should say “volunteer”.
Read BAARK!’s official statement regarding HERE
Read Humane Society of Grand Bahama’s official statement HERE

If you’re a Florida resident you’re very familiar with hurricane season, which runs from June 1st through November 30th. Florida is projected to experience six hurricanes this season, two of which will be major hurricanes. We’re already in the midst of this time frame and it’s crucial to be proactive rather than reactive. While we usually receive some sort of warning before a hurricane reaches us, we should not wait until a disaster is approaching to prepare. The best protection from a natural disaster is a plan! Hurricanes can be scary and there’s a certain four-legged family member who’s counting on you to keep them safe and secure – your pet.

Storms are a leading cause of pets becoming lost and hurricanes unfortunately bring the possibility of evacuation, which heightens this problem. If you have to evacuate, don’t leave your pet behind! Pets left behind are at risk of being injured, lost, or killed. If it’s not safe for you to be in your home, then it isn’t safe for your pets either.

Below are our tips for what you can do – both now and during a disaster – to ensure your pet stays safe during the event of a hurricane.

What To Do NOW

ID your pet! In the event that your pet does get lost, identification will strongly increase your chances of being reunited with them. Microchipping is highly recommended, and you’ll want to be sure that the microchip registration is in your name and updated with current contact information. The average person doesn’t have a microchip scanner, however, so it’s a good idea to also have a collar ready to go with an ID tag securely attached. Putting your phone number on your pet’s ID tag makes it easy for someone to contact you right away.

Visit our shelter to pick up a FREE Disaster Bag to help you prepare. You can also easily create your own disaster kit.

Either way, include these items for your pet to bring if you need to evacuate:

– All current medications, including heartworm, flea and tick preventatives

– Current medical and vaccination records

– A minimum of 7 days’ worth of food and water – don’t forget a can opener and/or scooper!

– Food and water bowls

– Microchip ID number information

– A collar with rabies and ID tags and leashes (it’s never a bad idea to have backups)

– Pictures of you with your pets and of your pets alone, to prove ownership and help others identify them if you are separated

– List of unique markings your pet has

– Pet first-aid kit

– Poop bags

– Trash bags

– Toys and treats

– Litter boxes and litter

– A secure carrier or collapsible crate for each pet, large enough for them to stand comfortably and turn around

– Bedding and blankets

– Small container of disinfectant and paper towels

Find a safe place to evacuate to ahead of time. Ideally, this would be a friend or relative’s house, but it could also be an emergency shelter. Call your local office of emergency management before a disaster hits to see if you’ll be able to bring your pet to an emergency shelter – don’t assume! Pet-friendly shelters likely won’t be an option either as most of them will have extremely limited space in the event of a disaster.

Hillsborough County Emergency Info – 813.272.5900

Consider lining up a caregiver in your absence. If a hurricane hits while you’re away from home, have a contact who lives close to you, is comfortable with your pets, knows the location of your pet evacuation kit, and has access to your house.

What To Do THEN (During a Hurricane)

If you are evacuating, bring your pet and their disaster kit with you!

If you find yourself unable to go to a friend or relative’s house, locate pet-friendly hotels or shelter in the area you’ll be evacuating to and secure reservations.

If you’re staying at home, identify a safe area of the house where your family and pets can stay together, and put your emergency supplies in that room immediately. Bring pets indoors as soon as authorities say trouble is on the way and make sure they’re wearing identification. Close off any unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats may try to hide, and don’t let your pets roam loose!

Again, we urge you to recognize the importance of preparation! The last thing you want to do is be scrambling to keep your pet safe while you’re trying to figure out your own safe evacuation. Our pets cannot prepare for themselves in situations like this. It’s our job as pet parents to protect them, prepare for them, and be patient with them. If you are traveling with your pet make sure to keep them safe. Read how to keep you and your pet safe in an auto emergency here.

Additional Resources

A detailed, downloadable emergency preparedness document covering the needs of dogs, cats, horses, swine, cattle, birds, reptiles, and rabbits during a disaster. Checklists and contact log included.

Updated during disasters to show shelters accepting pets. It is very important that your pets are up-to-date on their shots as shelters will not allow pets to enter without proof of current vaccinations.

Find pet friendly hotels and accommodations.

Print and affix to a gallon-size plastic bag where you can store the listed items.

Written by Guest Blogger: Diana Miller

Full Article with Video: https://topdogtips.com/dog-smuggling-business/ 

One of the largest animal welfare issues is the one that most people aren’t aware of: puppy trafficking. As the popularity of pets, dogs in particular, continues to rise, the illegal business of dog smuggling has seen immense growth all across the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Thailand, Singapore and more.

Animal smuggling is on the rise, and wannabe pet owners, looking for “designer” dogs and young pups of specific breeds, buying dogs from illegal breeders or other unidentified sources, are the reason why this problem has gotten completely out of hand.

Smuggling is the act of either sneaking in goods and merchandise (including animals) from one country into another or falsifying documentation in order to do so. The main motivation for this illegal task is profit. There are often three reasons smuggled goods make money:

  • 1) goods at a lower tax rate are available outside of one’s country
  • 2) the demand for the goods can’t be met within one’s country and so another resource is taken advantage of,
  • 3) the goods are found in another country at a lower cost and then purchased within one’s country by an unwitting consumer.

In order to understand how the business of dog smuggling (or puppy trafficking) works, it’s important to look at determining factors, such as economic structures of border countries and states as well as the policies that make smuggling more or less difficult.

Economics, Politics, and Supply-and-Demand

Smuggling occurs as a way to get around unsavory legislation (often imposing tariffs or border regulation) while further legislation is created to put a stop to smuggling.

It’s difficult to stop a system that works so well, however. When an item is in demand, two parties play key roles and both benefit: the Buyer gets what they want (a coveted item) and the Seller gets what they want (money). And while many associate smuggling with firearms and drugs, there’s another item on the rise: puppies.

Currently, the pet care industry is one of the largest and fastest growing in the world. Americans spend an estimated $1,200 on their pet each year (not including routine veterinary care). The American Pet Products Association estimated that the U.S. spent over 72 billion dollars on pet care products in 2018; that’s a jump from the amount spent during 2017: 69.51 billion. While the desire for having dogs as pets in America is apparent, smuggling of these common household pets is made easier by the economic differences between the United States and its neighbor, Mexico.

The U.S. and Mexico border illustrates a mutually-beneficial, albeit illegal, operation of puppy and dog smuggling. Dogs purchased in Mexico for as little as $50 are transported to the United States where Americans are not only willing but able to pay as much as $1,000 for their new pet. Small dog breeds such as Chihuahuas, Poodles, and French Bulldogs are some of the most sought-after and can fetch a pretty penny.

Sadly, many of these animals come from inhumane conditions and carry life-threatening diseases, such as distemper and parvovirus. These diseases are not only brought into their new country, but typically lead to an early death, causing both heartbreak and costly veterinarian bills for the owner.

This pattern is also seen in the economically successful city-state of Singapore, where animal smugglers risk jail time and penalties in order to illegally export puppies from surrounding, more impoverished communities to find a wealthier market. Many other countries, including Thailand, China and Vietnam, are also dealing with this problem, albeit less successfully than the U.S. In Thailand, in one month alone, it’s not unusual for a single patrol to rescue approx. 800 dogs inhumanely stuffed into wire cages.

As dog smuggling business continues to experience growth due to popularity of pets, the West isn’t unaffected either. Many European countries are aware of this problem but little is done to deal with it effectively or discourage animal smuggles further. The United Kingdom has also seen a steady rise of profitability when it comes to pet accessories, foods, and toys, with the most current statistics showing over 5 billion euros annually. The country has become a telling example for how policy can affect the global rise of dog smuggling.

The U.K. has seen dog smuggling escalate rapidly within the past five years, with a spike occurring during the holiday season of 2017. Puppies as young as four weeks old are illegally trafficked into the country on a regular basis. The date the problem became worse isn’t a direct correlation to the Brexit vote results during the summer of 2016 as much as it is an issue of supply-and-demand and the introduction of The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) in 2012. Due to this and other related legal loopholes, dog smuggles are now motivated to commit to 30-hour trips from Europe to the U.K. in order to traffic as many young pups into the country as they can.

PETS allows dogs of only 15 weeks of age to travel into Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and it also commits to a more lax stance on vaccinations. And although the decision to leave the European Union isn’t set to greatly affect the United Kingdom until well into 2019, some politicians and citizens alike anticipate complications with both trade policies and border control (especially the 300 mile stretch between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which has remained peacefully unprotected for the past 40 years). However, many animal welfare organizations in the U.K. are calling the Brexit referendum an opportunity to reverse PETS. Whether this opportunity will be acknowledged and properly applied is yet to be seen.

However, change to or further regulation is not guaranteed to end illegal puppy transporting. In truth, so long as demand for “designer” breeds exists, illegal activity will find a way to operate and supply this demand. Dog smuggling acts much like any other legal business would: there’s a hierarchy of “employees” who all play specific roles in order to dodge legislation and at the end of a successful work day, there’s a paycheck. And the bill is fitted by ill-educated buyers.

Moreover, the legal system and authorities still do not take puppy trafficking (or animal cruelty) as serious as they should, and the laws in many countries – including the U.K. – are often too lax. Punishment is mild enough for dog smuggles not to be discouraged to profit from this illegal activity. For example, a 54-year old man from Killearn Crescent, Plains was only given a “ban” and a $3,300 fine for mistreatment and trading of many dogs, even though it’s been known to investigators that the man has a long history of animal cruelty.

The Buyers of Smuggled Dogs

The Buyers of Smuggled Dogs

A large part as to why dog smuggling works is due to those purchasing a pet that was illegally and often inhumanely transported. Many animal welfare organizations across the globe attempt to educate the community about the importance of knowing their puppy’s seller, but informative pamphlets and blog posts often fall by the way-side as soon as a future-owner sees floppy ears and cute puppy-dog eyes.

As we’ve seen through examples around the world, animal smuggling businesses are apt to commit fraud, creating fake vaccination papers and passports. And it’s because of this that many future pet owners are unaware of their dog’s early life and this is often because they are lied to by dog smugglers.

The internet plays a large part in the dog smuggling business’ success. This platform that’s available 24/7 around the world allows buyers to search through hundreds of photographs of puppies for sale, read short profiles about the canines (which, typically, are also not based on truth) and contact the seller directly to set up a time to meet/buy the dog.

The Sellers That Smuggle Dogs

Sellers may pose themselves as an animal sanctuary or revered breeder and the unsuspecting buyer buys not only the puppy but the charade. Others may choose to sell their smuggled animals to local pet shops, who are either unwitting or don’t care about the seller’s source.

The dog smuggling business relies on the falsification of documents which calls for otherwise trusted individuals to do. Following the example of puppy smuggling issues in the United Kingdom, investigations found that veterinarians in certain countries were willing to alter information concerning the birth and/or vaccination dates if paid to do so.

Once the puppy is considered old enough to travel – usually below the age many would recommend or what is federal law in the U.S. or other countries – and the appropriate documents (although typically falsified) are gathered, the smuggler plans their travel.

Driving is preferred over air travel as security is anything but lax in most international airports. While border check points still exist when driving hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles with dogs by your side, searches of the vehicle are often random enough to be avoided, especially if the driver doesn’t cause suspicion or can pose as a commuter. Many animal smugglers prepare for a vehicle search, however, often placing the puppies in hidden small, hidden compartments that are hollowed out or designed by the smugglers themselves.

However, in order to do all of this, sellers need a source from which they gain their puppies. And while it’s true that some dog smugglers consider themselves a Renaissance man of sorts – breeding, smuggling, and selling the puppy all by themselves – it’s more often that an additional resource is available to help, making their operation easier and them less liable.

The Main Source in Dog Smuggling

Utilizing a middle man, or “source”, protects the identity of the smuggler as well as keeps their tasks simple: the less time they must spend homing their snuck-in product, the more time they can spend traveling back and forth, keeping the money and operation constantly flowing.

Often, these sources are puppy breeding farms, or puppy mills, which routinely impregnate their female dogs so that their “product” (puppies) can continuously be available.

Sometimes these operations are able to work because they may exist in a country with lesser or no animal welfare regulations. Meaning, inhumane puppy breeding can occur with almost no interruption. These often unhealthy puppies are then picked up by the smuggler who may pose as an adopter and pay for the animals, or may even be in on the operation, splitting their profits with the illegal breeders.

Why Dog Smuggling Is an Animal Welfare Issue
He’Art of Rescue / SWNS

Why Dog Smuggling Is an Animal Welfare Issue

Puppies in particular are in danger of being smuggled, as their size allow for easier hiding. Investigations carried out by organizations like PETA, ASPCA, and DogsTrust (a British organization) have founded that smuggled pups are often inhumanely treated. Just this last September, a San Antonio man tried to smuggle 25 puppies and was caught at a checkpoint in Laredo, Texas. Trafficked puppies were clearly inhumanely treated, all covered in their own feces and urine, and stuffed inside duffel bags like old clothes.

There are many more cases like this.

One investigation found a container of puppies that was plastic wrapped with only a small hole allowing them to breathe while another found severe cases of skin infections imparted by inhumane conditions during transportation. It’s also common for these puppies to be restrained, immobile, and muzzled for as long as the journey between borders takes.

Sadly, the pet industry is not exclusive to canines and it’s a worldwide issue. Often, these animals, reptiles and birds are heavily drugged, uncomfortably contained, denied food, water, or a humane place to waste for hours, sometimes days. It’s not uncommon for smuggled animals to die during the journey.

How You Can Help

Buyers (or future pet adopters) can help break this illegal and harmful system by investigating the source they wish to buy a puppy from. You can ask to meet the puppy’s parents, ask to visit the seller’s home to see the conditions the puppy comes from. Any denial to these simple requests should raise red flags and you may or may not choose to report their information to a local animal rights organization for further investigation.

While policies often do little to stop dog smuggling, one thing that could damper it is a shrunken market. If everyone refused to purchase smuggled animals, and in general do better research into where the puppies are coming from to avoid illegal breeders and puppy mills, animal smugglers would see their business slowly diminish.

To-do list on how to avoid fostering puppy trafficking when getting a dog:

  • Always ask to see the puppy’s parents together with the pup
  • Never meet the seller anywhere else other than where the puppy lives
  • Do not purchase a dog from a place that sells more than one breed
  • Come to see the pet you want to adopt more than once
  • Don’t buy pups that look unhealthy, underweight or too young (do report them)
  • Ensure there’s paperwork for the dog, take it and bring it with you
  • If there are any red flags, walk away and report the place to local authorities
  • Bring your new puppy to a veterinarian for a check-up right away
  • Do not allow to be pressured into purchasing an animal

It’s better to adopt, not shop for a puppy. But if you do prefer to buy a dog of specific breed, make sure to get one only from a reputable breeder that operates legally.


Written by Guest Blogger: Mary Nielsen

Primarily, you should make plans to spay or neuter your pet because it is in the best interest of your pet. You would, of course, be getting some advantages such as your pet will be cleaner and more well-behaved. In the end it is your pet’s comfort and health that comes first. Here are the reasons you should consider spaying or neutering your pet.

Every Life Counts

If your pet does not have testicles or a uterus then he or she cannot get cancer or tumors in those areas. The chances of contracting various different types of tumors and cancer are much lowered after spaying and neutering.  Plus, generally speaking, sexual alteration can prolong a dog’s life by a year or three or even more. It can prolong a cat’s life by as much as three to five years.  Not going on heat means that your pet is less likely to do things that could lead to trouble like straying from home or getting into fights with other animals. Spaying and neutering will offer your pet a healthier and longer life.

End Animal Homelessness

It’s a wonderful idea to deeply consider how spaying and neutering can relate to other animals. Several millions of unwanted stray dogs and cats are turned over to shelters every year. Many of these poor animals will never find a loving forever home. Unfortunately, this can often lead to euthanasia. Spaying or neutering will prevent this awful regularity from continuing. The expense tending to unwanted animals can run into the billions. Considering that some shelters rely strictly on charitable donations, this is money not easily come by.

Behavior Improvements

This won’t fix every behavior problem, but lessening a male pet’s testosterone levels may result in him being a little less aggressive. A female who no longer feels compelled to let everyone know that she’s available will not yowl or spray. That disconcerting mounting behavior that is the punchline of many a trite dog joke will not become reality if your dog is altered by age of six months. The vet may be able to operate when your pet is as young as eight weeks, given that your pet is in ideal health.

Do you want to learn more about other very good reasons to spay or neuter your pet? Then please take some time to look over this infographic. Your pet will be glad you did!

How to Help Your Pet Get The Most Sleep

Written by: Jackie Kepler

Everyone needs sleep — even pets. You might think your pet’s sleep needs are similar to yours (as they may do most of their sleeping when you do), but the fact is animals have unique sleep needs and sometimes need help getting all of the rest they need.

The good news is animals are often flexible sleepers. They can adjust their schedule to sleep when you’re resting, out of the house, or otherwise not likely to engage with them. But even flexible sleepers can struggle to sleep well sometimes, and you can offer help as a pet parent.

How Much Sleep Pets Need

While most adult humans need somewhere in the neighborhood of eight hours of sleep each night, you can count on pets such as cats and dogs needing at least 12 hours of sleep. But it doesn’t necessarily all happen at night.

Dogs often have a sleep schedule similar to human toddlers. They need about 12 to 14 hours of sleep each 24 hour period. However, puppies or elderly dogs, extremely active dogs or large breeds may need more than that. They may consolidate most of their sleep at night during your rest period, then make up the rest of their sleep needs with daytime naps.

Cats are known for their naps, and for a good reason: The average cat sleeps between 12 to 16 hours each day (more for kittens and elderly cats). And with that much sleeping, there’s bound to be plenty of daytime napping. Like dogs, cats may adjust their schedule to yours. But generally, you can expect cats to be most active at dawn and dusk.

How to Help Pets Sleep Well

Pets may not need your help to sleep well. They may be able to rely on natural instincts and manage their own sleep needs. But if you notice your pet sleeping less than usual or acting tired while not getting the rest they need, you might need to intervene.

  • Offer a healthy diet. Sleep and overall health go hand in hand. Eating junk food or a meal that’s too large before bed can make it tough for pets to get to sleep, so feed them an appropriate amount at a time that’s early enough to give them a couple hours to digest before they should go to sleep for the night.
  • Make sure they’re active. Wearing your pet out during the day can make for a night of more restful sleep. Offer regular physical activity, stimulation, and attention during the day.
  • Give them a healthy place to sleep. Like any member of the family, your pet needs a bed where they can rest and feel comfortable. Consider their needs and offer a bed that will help them sleep well at night.
  • Take care of their needs before you go to sleep. Pets may lie awake at night needing to go out to use the bathroom, hungry for a snack, or just wanting attention. Before you head off to bed, take some time to connect and make sure you’ve met their needs so they can rest without interruption.

As flexible sleepers with natural instincts, you shouldn’t be overly concerned with your pet’s sleep, but too little or too much could indicate a problem that needs addressing. If you’re worried about how much your pet is sleeping, talk to your vet about their sleep patterns and offer support for healthy sleep.

Jackie Kepler is a MattressReviews.net sleep professional. She enjoys sleeping with cats, but sleeps on a king size bed because she needs her space, too.

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.