This Smart Tag Is an Essential Fourth of July Accessory for Dogs Afraid of Fireworks

Pawscout
Pawscout

Fireworks are an entertaining part of Independence Day for many people, but for pets, they can trigger panic. There are steps you can take to calm down your dog during fireworks shows, such as keeping them indoors, putting them in an anxiety vest, and giving them a walk beforehand, but when 170-decibel explosions are going off around them, there's a chance they may bolt. Animal shelters report a spike in new admissions each year on July 5 due to scared pets running from home. If you want to keep close tabs on your dog this Fourth of July, a smart pet tag can help.

Pawscout combines the technology of a pet microchip with the noninvasive convenience of a dog tag. The battery-powered tag snaps securely onto your dog's collar. After connecting it to the companion smartphone app via Bluetooth, you can upload your pet's personal profile to the device. Pawscout stores photos, medical records, behavioral details, and contact information. If your dog ever gets lost, you can use the app to alert other Pawscout users in the area. Anyone within a 300-foot radius of your pet will be able to see your dog's location on a map in the app.

Smart dog tag and smartphone app.
Pawscout

Even if you're the only person in your neighborhood with Pawscout, the system is an essential pet safety tool. You can program a "virtual leash" to let you know every time your dog wanders outside a certain range. And if you need to find a local veterinarian, groomer, or pet-friendly business, the Pawscout map can help with that as well.

The Pawscout tag can be purchased for $20 from Amazon, and there's no monthly fee to use it. Whether your pet is outfitted with a smart tag or not this Fourth of July, it's still important to pay extra close attention to them during the festivities. Here are some ways to keep them calm.

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A Same-Sex Penguin Couple Has Adopted an Egg at a Berlin Zoo

LisaStratchan/iStock via Getty Images
LisaStratchan/iStock via Getty Images

At first glance, king penguins Skip and Ping don’t appear to be too remarkable a sight when viewed by spectators at their enclosure at Germany's Zoo Berlin. But look closer and you may see one of them nurturing an egg under one of their skin folds. Skip and Ping, a same-sex penguin couple, have effectively adopted an egg and hope to raise it as their own baby.

A story by writer Liam Stack in The New York Times details their pursuit of parenthood. According to Stack, the penguins arrived at Zoo Berlin in April and were observed to have a degree of baby fever, trying to coddle everything from a rock to a fish. Taking note of their coupling, zookeepers passed on an unhatched egg laid by a female at the zoo. They immediately took to it, taking protective measures and growing ornery when employees got too close. Ping has taken to sitting on the egg in the hopes it will hatch.

That’s not guaranteed. Zookeepers aren't certain whether the egg was fertilized. If it is, it’s likely to crack open in early September, giving Skip and Ping an opportunity to expand their family.

Earlier this year, a same-sex penguin pair named Sphen and Magic began rearing a chick in Australia’s Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. The doting parents sang to and fed their adoptive offspring.

[h/t The New York Times]

Airlines Are No Longer Allowed to Ban Service Dogs Based on Breed

chaivit/iStock via Getty Images
chaivit/iStock via Getty Images

As the species of service and emotional support animals have become more diverse, airlines have had to make some tough decisions. Birds, monkeys, and snakes have been barred from boarding airplanes with passengers, but even more conventional pets like dogs have been rejected based on their breed. A new rule from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) aims to change that. As Travel + Leisure reports, the agency now forbids airlines from discriminating against service dogs of particular breeds, including pit bulls.

Last year, Delta banned all pit bulls from flying, regardless of whether or not they were certified therapy animals. United Airlines also banned pit bulls last year, along with 20 other dog breeds, including pugs, bulldogs, mastiffs, and shih tzus.

Under the new DOT guidelines, these policies are no longer legal. The statement reads: "The Department’s Enforcement Office views a limitation based exclusively on breed of the service animal to not be allowed under its service animal regulation. The Enforcement Office intends to use available resources to ensure that dogs as a species are accepted for transport."

The new rule applies specifically to service animals, or animals that have been trained to perform a job that's essential to their owner's wellbeing. Emotional support animals, which don't require special training and aren't covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, don't qualify.

Even if a pet is a certified service animal, airlines still have the right to reject them in certain cases. Air travel companies can request documents related to an animal's vaccination, training, or behavior history. If they find anything in the papers that indicates they're not safe to fly, airlines can turn them away on that basis.

In the same statement, the Department of Transportation clarifies which species of service animals should be allowed on flights. Miniature horses are now included on the list of service animals airlines must allow to fly, while ferrets, rodents, snakes, reptiles, and spiders are the only species airlines can ban outright.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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