4th of July Fireworks Terrifying for Pets: Safety Tips to Follow

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holiday_dogMore pets run away during the week of July Fourth than any other time of year. Keep your furry family members safe with these tips.

It’s a cautionary tail. Dog hears fireworks. Dog runs away from fireworks. Dog gets hurt running away from fireworks.

It’s a sad, sobering reality for many pet owners every Fourth of July holiday— as animal shelters across the nation report an uptick in lost and killed pets every Independence Day.

“This is a stressful time for pets, so we hope owners hear our message as loud and clear as those legal firework shows organized by local cities in our county,” An Animal Services Director in Riverside County, Frank Corvino, said. “We hate seeing pets injured or killed because they’re running from the noise. Please do everything you can to protect your pets.”

Fireworks can not only be terrifying and overwhelming for pets, but possibly hazardous, says the Humane Society of the United States. And even pet owners with invisible fences can lose their dog if they get spooked enough from the noise, so better to be safe than sorry.

“The noise stresses a lot of dogs so we suggest that everyone keep their dog inside, except for obviously a few leashed walks! — even if you don’t have a noise sensitive dog,” says Lisa Bonanno-Spence of the SPCA of Westchester, NY.

Also, Bonanno-Spence points out, fireworks aren’t limited to the evening of the Fourth, so be aware of organized celebrations going on in your community and expect some spontaneous mischief from individuals.

And even if you’re home cozy on the sofa with Skippy or Princess, loud explosions in the night still strike terror in many dogs.

Many dog owners have had good luck with a Thundercoat, which wrapped snugly around a dog, can serve as an extra comforting hug.

It’s smart to take precautions for all dogs, regardless of how unafraid they may have been of loud noises in the past. Dogs that have been fine in past years can still be unexpectedly spooked.

Lost Dogs Illinois and the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control.lists the following tips to help pet owners keep their dogs secure during nearby fireworks, parades, and cookouts:

  • Exercise will help your dog relax, so take him for a walk and a potty break before the fireworks or festivities begin. Even if you’re in your yard, you may want to leash your dog in case of unexpected noise.
  • Find a safe place indoors for your pet to stay. Ambient noise from a TV, radio, fan or A/C unit can help make pets feel safe.
  • Keep your windows closed.
  • Avoid bringing your dog to your local Independence Day parade.
  • Inspect your fence for openings.
  • Be certain your dog’s tag is readable and up-to-date, his collar is properly fitted and, if your dog has a microchip, the information in the microchip is accurate.
  • Create a quiet place for your dog or cat. Make sure it is cool enough, comfortable enough and away from the celebrations. Once you have located the spot, make it off-limits to guests.
  • If your animal requires prescriptions to cope with the fireworks, make sure you get them well before the Fourth of July holiday. Most veterinarians are closed for the holiday and emergency clinics will not prescribe tranquilizers.
  • If you’re having or attending a cook-out with a pet, remind guests to watch their plates and to properly dispose of their garbage. A steak bone/chicken bone or a corn cob is appetizing but can be deadly to your dog or cat.
  • Post notes or signs on back gates or front and rear doors that an animal is present and to be careful to close doors and gates when entering or exiting.
  • Make sure that your pet has on its rabies tags for identification purposes and she is wearing a collar and tag with your name and phone number in case of escape. Most pet stores, such as Petco or Petsmart, have machines inside the store where you can make pet ID tags on the spot.
  • Watch where your dog or cat go before the Fourth of July when the neighborhood hooligans start blowing off fireworks. See where your pet seeks quiet and make that their space.