Fireworks pose a common threat besides injury to humans.

Hopefully, we already have wise precautions in place for our children playing with fireworks, but with upcoming Independence Day Festivities, keep in mind the acutely keen hearing of dogs and how they are unable to comprehend the abrupt bi-annual change in their world.  More of our fur babies make the unwise decision to run away from home on this date than any other, bolting purely on ‘gut’ instinct, and feeling as if they’d fare better anywhere else than where they are hearing a seemingly unending chain of explosive albeit celebratory sounds.

Sadly, some of these dogs never find their way home again or are struck by passing cars as they make a mad dash, escaping into the streets or highways at night. Statistics reveal this is a common occurrence in Lufkin and surrounding areas.

My two dogs exhibit opposite aspects of this ‘Fight or Flight’ phenomena. One takes a beast-like stance and barks defiantly at thunder, fireworks or gun shots; while the other paces, seeks hiding places or sometimes surprisingly scurries up a chain link fence in a split second with her short, stocky legs and fat body!

If you realize your pet went missing over the holidays, check with all local shelters as soon as possible as they may have been deposited in one of these such as Kurth Animal Services & Adoption Center, located at 1901 Hill Street;  Angelina County Humane Society - Winnie Berry;  and other area shelters which all are ‘packed’ with lost dogs after this holiday.

Many of the dogs who get out and become lost because of fireworks never are found again and that’s really sad, said Molly James, Kurth Animal Shelter volunteer. “Kurth is already full of dogs and so if we get the usual overflow of dogs lost from fireworks, it’s going to be bad because we have no place to put them... ”

And FYI about Kurth Animal Control, contrary to public opinion, Kurth strives to save and adopt out as many of their pets as possible, and the blame for pets being euthanized lies primarily with the general public.

Collars and I.D. tags – PLEASE make your dog wears one whether they like it or not, complete with accompanying pet I.D. tags, or at least their rabies tags, and these alone will help identify them if they do lose their way.  The helpfulness of collars and tags outweigh any inconvenience in providing them.

Ensure their collar is the right fit - not too tight or too lose. I always leave them just loose enough to wear if they get hung up on a fence or something of the sort, so they can wiggle free of the collar if necessary, yet not so loose they can shake them off. And if you have a hard-headed rebellious pet who refuses to wear theirs, consider an I.D. chip under their skin.

When it comes to Fourth of July Picnics, Food and Drinks – alcohol is toxic to dogs as are many foods beyond just chocolate – onion (onion powder), garlic, macadamia nuts, grapes and raisins are all highly toxic to dogs.

If you are one of the many who plan to be out enjoying the Lufkin fireworks display at Ellen Trout Park July 4th, family picnics or parties, please take appropriate and careful steps to ensure your pets stay safely and securely where they belong. You might even consider hiring a dog sitter for the evening; something I may do.  (Any volunteers?!)