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Firework frights: how to keep your pets safe on New Year’s Eve

LIHU‘E — A Happy New Year isn’t always happy for man’s best friend.

As residents prepare firecracker and firework displays for this weekend’s New Year’s celebrations, pet owners may want to set up precautions to keep their animals secure and comfortable.

With fireworks explosions reaching as high as 150 to 175 decibels, dogs and other pets often try to run loose to escape the noise.

“The number one thing is to try and make sure that they don’t escape, because fireworks are very scary to animals and they tend to want to bolt, hide — to just get away,” said Caitlin Fowlkes, marketing and communications coordinator at Kaua‘i Humane Society. “We see a lot of animals come into the shelter any time that there’s fireworks happening, like New Year’s and July Fourth.”

In case a furry friend does run away, Fowlkes recommends pet owners microchip their pet and update the connected phone number and email address online. All pet dogs and cats on Kaua‘i are required by law to have a microchip.

“If we get your pet in and your phone number is updated, we can call you, you can come in and claim your pet, and there’s no fee to reclaim the pet within the first two days that it comes into the shelter,” she said.

Additionally, Fowlkes suggests pet owners purchase an ID tag to provide easy identification without having to take the animal into a veterinary facility. Even simply writing a phone number on the inside of a pet’s collar can help reunite them with their owners in the event of an escape.

Once pet owners take precautions to avoid runaway animals, Fowlkes recommends creating a safe space in an enclosed indoor area for pets to make the explosions less stressful for them.

“You can put down some comforting blankets and toys and treats,” she said. “And when the animal goes into this room, you can reward them with treats to kind of reinforce that positive association. Now if fireworks are going off, you can put the animal in that safe space and they know that they’re safe and protected.”

Fowlkes suggests turning on a radio or TV in the room to drown out the noise, and even sitting with the pet to comfort them.

For particularly anxious pets, Fowlkes notes that certain natural supplements and weighted compression shirts may help ease their fears.

In the event that a pet does go missing, owners can check www.kauaihumane.org to see if the animal is being held at the Humane Society. Their stray hold list is updated in live time.

However, due to limited shelter space, Fowlkes asks that residents who find stray animals use ID tags and social media to try reuniting pets with their owners without bringing them into the Humane Society.

“Of course, you can always bring the animal into the shelter, and we can scan it for a microchip to see if there’s a number we can call,” she said. “But we are asking people, — if they can, foster and hold onto the animals. We’ll give them all the food and all the supplies that they’ll need, but it’s very helpful right now because we’re so full.”

The Kaua‘i Humane Society will close early at 3 pm on New Year’s Eve, and will remain closed through New Year’s Day.

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Jackson Healy, reporter, can be reached at 808-245-0427 or jhealy@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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