Humane Society reminds pet owners about safety during fireworks, hot days

Humane Society reminds pet owners about safety during fireworks, hot days

Fourth of July is Society’s busiest day due to runaway dogs

Fourth of July is Gastineau Humane Society’s busiest day of the year. That is not a good thing.

Karen Wood, Animal Control Officer and Director of Animal Control at GHS, said the Humane Society receives at least a dozen calls on the holiday compared to an average day of two calls the rest of the year. Wood said most of these calls or walk-ins are about either losing or finding a stray dog. The cause is mostly related to dogs running away after being startled by loud fireworks.

“It is the day that most often has pets run off for fear of fireworks,” Wood said at GHS Wednesday. “They jump fences or escape out the front door.”

Wood offered some ideas on what can be done on July Fourth to help prevent dogs from running away. Wood said the best option is simply leaving your dog at home while celebrating. She also said taking a dog for a long walk during the day is also a good option because it tires the dog out and allows it to rest calmly. She also said having proper tags is also key.

“We recommend that all pets are wearing their 2018 city license, so we can give the owner a call and return it to them without it having to be impounded and brought back here,” she said. “If the dog is microchipped, that is also helpful because if the dog pulls out of its collar, we can still identify it.”

If people do decide to bring their dog out to festivities, she said to make sure to act immediately if the dog seems uncomfortable.

“We know that people think it is fun to take their dogs to the parade and go see fireworks, but they do not have fun like we do at the events,” Wood said. “We always do want to be with our buddies, but it is best to just keep them at home. If they are out and they do start to panic, it really is best to just take them home.”

Wood said that some dogs may have panic attacks so bad that they may need medication. She said making sure medication is well stocked or visiting the veterinarian is a good idea.

Heat and vehicle safety

With predicted warmer temperatures expected next week, Wood cautioned people about leaving dogs in cars. She said GHS received “tons” of calls once temperatures reached 40 and the sun came out in March. Wood said those are not emergency situations, but does caution that when temperatures hit 60 degrees, the inside of vehicles may become dangerous.

“If windows aren’t open and the sun is out, it can heat up real fast,” Wood said. “There is a greenhouse effect in cars with the glass. Temperatures can rise really fast. In fact, just last week we did have a dog overheat in a car.”

Usually, Wood said the incidents are accidental. She said she has dealt with one dog who died after being in a hot car too long.

Wood suggested if dogs are brought along on trips, to make sure there is plenty of ventilation. She also said if people do see a dog that looks hot and uncomfortable to call the Humane Society.

“If you see an animal that looks distressed, lethargic and panting heavily or rapidly, you should call immediately,” Wood said. “We will head out to the scene, get the license plate number and contact the owner.”

Melissa Roulette, a Licensed Veterinary Technician at Southeast Alaska Animal Medical Center, said dogs left in hot cars can lead to a serious medical situation.

“That is when we worry about heatstroke,” Roulette said. “It is like sitting in the sun without any shade.”

Dogs owners should also be cautious of their pets even outside when the temperatures rise.

“When the temperatures rise above 75 degrees and asphalt starts to warm up, dogs can actually burn their paw pads on the asphalt and any other dark, hot surfaces,” Roulette said.

Roulette said precautions that can be taken include bringing cool water along, taking breaks on longer walks and making sure dogs get time in the shade.

Another vehicle problem Wood says the society sees a lot with warmer conditions is dogs improperly restrained in the beds of trucks. It is legal to have a dog in the bed of a truck, but there are some guidelines pet owners must follow. The dog may be tethered to the cab, placed in a bed that has side and tail racks at least 46 inches high, housed in a secured animal container or cage or in a vehicle equipped with means of preventing a dog from getting loose, like a truck cap.

Improperly restraining a dog in the bed of a truck is a $65 citation but can cost even more if tragedy strikes. Wood said she remembers when a dog jumped right out the bed of a moving vehicle on Glacier Highway.

“People think their dogs won’t jump out, but we don’t know,” Wood said. “Dogs are our best friends and part of our family. We really just want to make sure that people know of the easy precautions people can take to make sure they are safe.”


• Contact reporter Gregory Philson at gphilson@juneauempire.com or call at 523-2265. Follow him on Twitter at @GTPhilson.


More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of May 22, 2022

Here’s what to expect this week.

Juneau's incumbent delegation to the Alaska State Legislature from left to right: Representative Andi Story, D-Juneau; State Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, and Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau. All three lawmakers have filed for re-election and are so far running unopposed. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire, Courtesy photo / Jesse Kiehl, Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Local lawmakers all seek reelection

June 1, filing deadline.

Coast Guard aircrews medevaced two people from Dry Bay Airstrip, approximately 30 miles Southeast of Yakutat, Alaska, after their plane crashed, May 25, 2022. (Courtesy photo / Coast Guard District 17)
Three medevaced after plane crash near Yakutat

All four aboard were injured, three critically so.

The author’s appreciation for steelhead has turned into something like reverence considering what’s happening to populations in the Lower 48 and Canada. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
I Went to the Woods: Silent steel

“You forget most of what ends up in the freezer, but those steelhead, they stick with you.”

Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, seen here in this June 16, 2021, file photo, announced Wednesday he will not seek relelection in the Alaska State Senate, where he has served since 2013. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)
Senate president says he won’t run again

“Honor and a privilege.”

Hoonah’s Alaska Youth Stewards helped make improvements to Moby and water the plants in summer 2021. (Courtesy Photo / Jillian Schuyler)
Resilient Peoples & Place: Moby the Mobile Greenhouse cultivates community

It presents opportunities to grow food knowledge and skills.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, May 26, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read