fireworks exploding in a black skyNow time for an annual reminder—it’s almost the fourth of July! Why does that matter? Because it’s the day our Founding Father’s signed the Declaration of Independence? Well, sure, although the exact date of the signing is disputed (it may have been later), but more importantly because of this quote from a letter independence advocate and declaration signer John Adams sent to his wife Abigail after the Declaration had been approved: “It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”

It seems people have taken Adams’s advice to heart. Independence Day is now celebrated from coast to coast with fireworks shows and other loud celebrations. In many neighborhoods, people also set off personal fireworks and firecrackers of varying legality.

In many areas, fireworks will start tonight, if they have not already, and will continue through next weekend. During this time, it’s important to keep careful watch on your pets. Make sure they are in a secure area (preferably inside) whenever fireworks can be anticipated, and remember they may hear fireworks that are too far distant for our ears. If your animals have a known noise phobia, consider whether medication may be called for or what other steps might be appropriate. For Sirius Black, I used to bring his crate down to the basement in the area under our stairs—the most insulated part of our house.

Also, make sure all your pets are wearing tags with up to date contact information. This is important, if even care and vigilance are not enough. Every year, animal control officers pick up many dogs over the Independence Day holiday. The ones that are wearing up to date tags get home fastest. This is a good idea even if your dog or cat has a microchip.

Happy holidays!

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