Dr. Sandy

Once again this week, roving reporter Dr. Sandy has passed the leash to Joan Bien for the Pet Corner.

Dear Dr.Sandy: My family really looks forward to the 4th of July fireworks display at the park every year. But we recently adopted two dogs which we keep outside. Is it okay to leave the dogs in the yard, which is fenced, or should we put the dogs inside the house while we’re away?

Concerned in Camarillo

Independence Day is an exciting time for families, but it can be very difficult for pets. The extremely loud noises, the general excitement, and the presence of food and drinks which can be toxic to animals all present hazards which can be successfully avoided. So here are a few tips from Dr. Al Schwartz, a member of the board of directors for the Association of Veterinary Family Practices and a veterinarian at the Moorpark Veterinary Hospital..

“Animals are often anxious from hearing fireworks,” Schwartz said. “Talk to your vet about what can be done to reduce the anxiety in your particular pet. Sometimes the vet will prescribe certain medications to make the holiday easier on your dog or cat.

Other steps to keep your pet safe on the 4th of July come from the California Veterinary

Medical Association:

• Keep small pets sheltered indoors and turn on the radio or TV for distraction.

• Never leave pets alone outdoors, even if tethered or in a fenced yard. Dogs especially may escape and become lost or injure themselves by chewing or choking on their leashes.

• Do not take a pet to a fireworks show or leave it in the car unattended. If you must be outside with your pet, be sure to keep it on a leash or in a carrier.

• Protect animals from children who may not realize that waving sparklers or setting off fire crackers could upset a family pet.

• Keep your pet’s identification. tags current so you can be reunited easily in the event it runs away.

July 5th is the busiest day of the year at local shelters. So keep a sharp eye on your pet during the holiday. If you see your pet shaking, barking and howling, drooling excessively, hiding, refusing to eat, or trying to escape the house or yard, you should contact your vet immediately. Your pets can’t control their surroundings so it is up to the owners to protect them from the severe problems which can be experienced by frightened animals, even those who, in prior years, seemed to be unaffected. This way, your entire family, including your furry family members, can have a safe and fun holiday.

Dr. Sandy

Dr. Sandy is recuperating from an extra-long walk and has asked contributor Joan Bien to fetch answers for this week’s Pet Corner:

The days are longer now, and that means more time to play with your four-legged friends. What is there to do during these dog days of summer?

— Outgoing in Ojai

Trot on over to the 10th Annual Pooch Parade Dog Walk and Pet Expo on Sunday, July 22, at San Buenaventura State Beach Park in Ventura. The pet parade begins at 9 a.m. with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. Or you can pre-register at www.poochparade.org to join the fundraising walkathon. There will be individual and team prizes for those who raise $40 or more. The top fundraiser of the day will have their pet’s picture printed on the 20,000 brochures for the 11th Annual Pooch Parade in 2008.

Silent auction bidding begins at 10 a.m. for items such as designer jewelry, local theater tickets or professional pet portraits. Final bids at 2:30 p.m. A list of auction items is available on the Web site.

There will be contests, awards and demonstrations throughout the day. Dogs and their families will compete in flying Frisbees, agility dogs will race for the finish line, and you can cheer your favorite flyball team in the competition between the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara flyball teams.

With your entry fee, registered walkers can compete for prizes for the best costume, most obedient, best trick, best tail wag, best kisser, and, of course, best in show. All will be decided by celebrity judges.

And if you are looking to adopt a pet, there will be several rescue organizations on the grounds with their available pets eager to go home with a new family.

The walk is a three-mile round trip along the Ventura Beach Promenade and raises money to support dog rescue, rehabilitation and pet adoption sponsored by the Canine Adoption and Rescue League.

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