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 · By Lindsey Schedler

A Safe Fourth of July for Furry Family Members

More pets go missing around the 4th of July holidays than any other time of year – and many lost pets are never found by their owners. DJ Perera, Director of US Pet Marketing at Merial, gives some tips on how to avoid the heartbreak of losing your pet.

There is a lot to keep in mind during the Fourth of July festivities; managing family, friends, and food can be almost overwhelming! We should, however, pay particular attention to our furry family members at this time of year, as more pets are lost around the holiday than any at other time.

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The combination of lots of unfamiliar people, sounds, and smells–in particular the booming noise and smell of fireworks – can cause pets stress. With guests coming and going, and unintentionally leaving doors and gates open, panicked pets have more opportunity to get out. In their frightened state, pets are likely to run for a long time without paying attention to where they’re going. This leads to the double danger of them getting lost or being injured.

You can take steps to help avoid your pet going missing this holiday. Make sure they are in a safe place, preferably indoors, away from the noise of fireworks.  A radio or television playing in the background may drown out some of this disturbance. Agitated pets may chew on or knock over furniture or try to get away from the noise through windows, potentially hurting themselves, so try to put them somewhere they will be safe. If your pet feels secure in a crate with a toy, food, and water, crating your pet may be the best option.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, only about 26% of dogs and less than 5% of cats that enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners.

If your pet does manage to get lost, the quicker you start searching the better. It’s a good idea to have recent photos of your pet ready to distribute just in case. Make sure tags on collars are updated with current contact information. Micro-chipping your pet is another way to help identify them if they get lost.

At Merial, Sanofi’s animal health company, we know that pets are at the heart of families around the world. That’s why we provide the free Get Me Home service, a website which provides tags with unique identifying numbers to pet owners. Once the ID number is registered on www.getmehome.com along with the owner’s contact information, anyone who finds a lost pet can search the lost pet’s ID number on the site to get in touch with the pet parent.

This July 4th, be mindful of your pets’ safety and wellbeing. Prepare for their needs, and ensure that if the worst does happen and they do get lost, you will be able to find each other quickly and easily. Your pet trusts you to take care of them. Merial is committed to helping you do just that – during the holidays and all year round.

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