Washoe Animal Services urges pet safety for holiday

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Loud noises, beating the heat, panicked pets and lost animals are a few of the biggest issues pet owners and Animal Services face during the holiday weekend. Washoe County Regional Animal Services is urging pet owners to take precaution for the Fourth of July holiday, which is the busiest time of year for Animal Services.

July 4 and 5 traditionally sees a sharp increase due to noises from fireworks and holiday festivities.

“Fourth of July fireworks might be a tradition for your family, but they are not fun for your pets,” says Shyanne Schull, director of Washoe County Regional Animal Services. “Animals are sensitive to noise, especially loud fireworks; some pets will go to extreme measures, such as chewing through fences and jumping through windows, in their effort to escape the noise. As a result, your pet may wander miles from home inadvertently being subjected to a variety of dangers.”

In addition to the fireworks, other threats to your pet can be avoided, such as overheating and burnt paws, by following a few simple tips.


• If you are heading to a fireworks display, the best way for everyone to get the most enjoyment is to leave your pets at home.

• Keep your pet indoors in a safe, cool area with a television or radio on to help mask the commotion of fireworks going on outside.

• When pets are frightened by fireworks, they can run, and become lost and disoriented. WCRAS receives an influx of calls for stray animals this time of year. Refrain from taking pets to outside events, including fireworks that are meant for humans.

• If your pet is frightened by loud noises, ask your veterinarian if medication may be suitable for your pet.

Lost pets

• Keep current identification on each of your pets. Licensed, microchipped animals with ID tags have a better chance of being returned to their owners if lost.

• WCRAS offers free microchips and a free monthly microchipping clinic to pets residing in Washoe County, which will help get your pet back to you safely. Please note the monthly vaccine clinic will not take place due to the July 4 holiday.


• Never leave your pet in the car on a warm day. Many pets overheat and die when this happens and it is illegal. WCRAS has responded to more than 2500 calls for service for dogs locked in hot vehicles in our community from summer 2016 to June 2017.

• Avoid walking your dog outside in the heat. The asphalt and concrete can burn the pads of their feet and overheat the dog. Early morning and later in the evening is the best time to walk your dog when the ground has cooled down.

• Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting, difficulty breathing, drooling, mild weakness or collapse, increased heart or respiratory rate and in advanced cases, possible seizure and cardiac arrest.

• To cool down an overheated dog, use a cool wet towel on the dog’s stomach, under the legs and the feet. Offer the dog water but do not offer ice as that can cool the dog down too quickly and shock the system. If symptoms persist, consult your veterinarian.

For more information, click here, or to report a dog left in a hot car or other abuse, please call (775) 322-DOGS.