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Tips from El Paso Animal Services for pet safety during Fourth of July festivities

EL PASO, TX (KVIA) -- As the Fourth of July approaches, El Paso Animal Services is reminding pet owners of the potential dangers that holiday festivities can pose to their furry friends. Fireworks and large gatherings can be stressful and potentially dangerous for pets.

One of the most crucial steps to ensure a pet's safety is to keep them indoors during fireworks. The loud noises can scare pets, leading them to run away.

ABC-7 spoke to Julie Newbold, Public Affairs Coordinator for El Paso Animal Services, who recommends setting up a secure “safe space” like a bathroom, spare bedroom, or garage. These spaces should be away from doors and windows to prevent pets from escaping. Putting their favorite toys, blankets, and some calming music in the “safe space” can also help reduce their stress.

Another essential precaution is to make sure a pet’s microchip information and ID tags on their collars are up to date. "The Fourth of July creates a recipe for disaster," Newbold explained. "It's not only the fireworks, but it's also guests coming over, friends coming over. That leaves doors open, gates open. Things happen by accident all the time."

Owners are also encouraged to register pets on ahead of the festivities. This is a central database designed to help connect lost pets to their owners.

If a pet does go missing, Newbold says the first step is to file a lost pet report on the El Paso Animal Services website and notify your microchip company. Social media can also be a powerful tool, so posting on platforms like Facebook and Nextdoor can increase the chances of locating your lost pet.

If you find a dog, El Paso Animal Services is asking the community to help. “There is a much higher percentage, about 80%, for a pet to be reunited back home with their owners if they stay in their community where they're found, whereas if they come to the shelter, their chances of being reunited decreases as low as 20%,” emphasizes Newbold.

Gatherings also include holiday foods, which can be harmful to pets. El Paso Animal Services says to keep them away from the barbecue, and make sure they don't consume any human food, especially items containing alcohol, chocolate, or other toxic ingredients. “Even if it is something that you think your pet has eaten in the past before, you never know what your friends might have put into the food. Maybe they put a bunch of garlic or onions or something like that, which are all toxic to pets,” says Newbold.

They also want to remind owners that the summer heat can be dangerous for pets. Newbold says overheating can cause their organs to shut down, “If you do start noticing signs of overheating, which again, it's excessive panting, excessive drooling, their tongues showing out to be a really bright color red. Try to bring your pet into a shaded area. Give them cool water gradually. You can also put a cool towel over top of them. But try your best to try to get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.”

El Paso Animal Services expects more pets to enter their care during the Fourth of July festivities. They continue to encourage the community to consider adopting or fostering a pet. Both options are free, and all necessary supplies and medical care are provided.

If a pet needs to be microchipped, visit for upcoming free microchipping clinics.

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Isabella Martinez


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