Blog: Fireworks and Pets – A Dangerous Combination
Noisy parades, loud music, neighborhood picnics, and, of course, fireworks; these summertime traditions are all great fun for people, but they are traumatic and potentially dangerous for pets.
More pets are lost over the Fourth of July holiday than any other time of the year. And with many towns holding fireworks displays throughout the summer, escapes are becoming more and more commonplace. Neighborhood fireworks can be the most dangerous of all, because while you can plan for public displays you cannot plan for a neighbor shooting off firecrackers and fireworks erratically.
Pets scared by fireworks may show the following signs: shaking, drooling, howling or barking, pacing, trying to find a place to hid and loss of bladder or bowel control. They may also panic and dart into traffic or through a screen door or window or over a fence, causing injury or even death.
Enjoy the festivities but keep your pets safe! Unexpected loud noises can scare even the calmest dogs. Don’t assume because your dog wasn’t scared of fireworks or gunfire in the past, that they will be okay this year. As dogs age, they often become more sensitive to loud noises.
Here are some tips to help pets feel safe and secure:
- Make sure your pet is wearing a visible id tag on a well-fitted collar and is microchipped. Make sure the microchip information is up to date and you have the contact information for the microchip company handy. If your pet isn’t microchipped, now is a good time to get it done. Even cats that are kept indoors should be microchipped in case they escape and bolt in fear.
- Have current, clear photos of your pets on hand, just in case. If they do go missing you will want to be able to quickly create flyers to distribute in your neighborhood.
- Take your pet for a walk or play date before the fireworks start. This allows your dog to exercise, release energy and, of course, go “potty”. Never leave your pet unattended, even in a secure yard.
- If you know that your pet is especially nervous with loud noises, you may want to ask your vet about the possibility of a prescription medicine to help calm them.
- Make sure that visitors to your home for picnics and parties understand that they should take extra precautions when entering and leaving your house and yard.
- Keep pets indoors. They may feel safer if they are placed in a smaller interior room with a radio/tv playing.
- Close your windows. Dogs in particular can try and get out of the house by pushing out the screen. Dogs have been known to bolt through screen doors so keep your inside door closed.
- Check your fence line for loose boards or openings that your dog could slip through or dig out of. We suggest you even keep a leash on your dog and walk him/her in the fenced yard during peak fireworks times. Never leave your pet unattended, even in a secure yard.
- Resist the urge to take your dog to the local Independence Day parade and festivities. Loud, crowded activities are no fun for your pets.
If your dog does get scared by fireworks and bolts, don’t panic! These dogs generally run and then hide. Immediately put your dog’s favorite blanket, some food, water, and something that smells like you (a dirty sock or pillowcase) outside. Tell everyone to not call or chase or whistle to your dog. Let him relax and he may very likely come home on his own. Do not let people congregate in your yard or driveway. Your dog is frightened and will stay in hiding until everything calms down.
Alert all local authorities, animal shelters, vet clinics and your microchip company. You will need to contact all of these sources individually as they do not cross-communicate. Create flyers and distribute them door to door in the neighborhood. You can print free lost pet posters and create lost pet social media templates with your PetLink account.
Enjoy your summer celebrations but keep your pets safe!
Written by Kathy Pobloskie for PetLink