Bella is looking for a good new home. This three-year-old Labrador mix is a sweet girl who is very eager to please. She loves to go on walks and responds to commands. And Bella really enjoys big, comfy beds!

You can meet Bella or any of the other dogs and cats available for adoption at the SPCA of Texas Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center, 2400 Lone Star Drive, in West Dallas starting at noon Saturday. Call the SPCA at 214-742-7722 for more information.

Memorial Day, Labor Day and the Fourth of July are the top three holidays for pet emergencies because of outdoor activities where pets run loose. Firecrackers with their loud, startling and scary noises can also be harmful to your pets' well-being. The SPCA of Texas recommends these tips to make your pets' Fourth of July a safe one:

  • Keep your pets indoors with the air conditioner running and the windows closed or keep a radio on to help mask out as much noise as possible. Also try distracting them: follow their regular routine, play with them or crate them up until the fireworks are over. Make sure they have current tags and a microchip to ensure their safe return should they bolt out of fear.
  • Heat is another reason to keep your pets indoors this summer. Also, be sure your pet has access to cool water at all times and never leave pets in parked vehicles.
  • Be aware of neighborhood pranksters throwing firecrackers over your fence to frighten your pet. Also be careful using sparklers, as they can burn animals as well as people.
  • Allow your pets the freedom to seek refuge under the bed, behind the toilet or in the back of the closet. This may soothe them more than cuddling with them.
  • Your dog may not want to accompany you to the local fireworks extravaganza. He may prefer some nice quiet time in your lap after everything is over. Also, during the festivities, keep your dog busy with chew toys.
  • If your pet gets especially stressed or your neighborhood is particularly noisy, you may wish to talk to your veterinarian about the practicality of using tranquilizers or homeopathic remedies.

Even if the proper precautions are taken, some animals may develop deeply rooted fears of loud noises after fireworks displays or thunderstorms. Commonly seen effects include: shaking; trembling; excessive drooling; barking; howling; trying to hide or get into or out of the house, fence, or other enclosure; refusing to eat food; loss of bladder or bowel control or temporary diarrhea. If you notice these symptoms in your pet, contact your veterinarian for help.

As always, to keep your pets happy and healthy, make sure your pets are spayed and neutered, that they are up to date on appropriate vaccinations and that you take your pet to the veterinarian for regular check-ups.

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