Americans love fireworks! The loud bang, pretty colors, American flag flying, and smoke are an essential part of the Fourth of July for most of us. While we love all of the above, they can actually be a nightmare for our pets! Did you know the Fourth of July is the day more pets go missing than any other? While we are busy enjoying food, drinks, summertime sun, and fireworks, our unattended pets may be hiding under the bed or in the bathtub. Loud noises can trigger your pet’s fight or flight system response. In fight or flight mode, your pet can easily get lost or injured. Now we are not saying to cancel your Fourth of July plans, but you do need to be prepared to keep your pets safe and happy. Below are a few tips on how you can do just that! 

First and foremost, make certain your dogs and cats are wearing collars with your contact information on them, or make sure they are microchipped. Even if your pet is calm or older, a loud bang can send any pet running! Dogs have been known to dig under or jump over fences, break tethers, or even shatter windows in response to their fireworks fears. If your pet does happen to get out or lost, an ID tag is often a pet's ticket back home and it will help you have peace of mind knowing your pet is properly tagged or microchipped. Be sure to have a plan if somehow your pet does get out. Accidents happen but it is best to try to be as prepared as possible. You may want to familiarize yourself with local shelters and animal hospitals and have their contact information on hand in case of an emergency.

Second, leave your pet at home. Even if your pet does not show any signs of being bothered by loud noises typically, the noises that come from fireworks are on a whole other level. Also, extreme sensitivity to sound can develop with age so staying home is probably the best option for your pet. While you are gone you can help them stay calm by making sure their environment is just right! If possible, put your pet in a quiet room and draw the blinds. You can also turn on the television or play music in the background to try and drown out the loud pops and bangs from the fireworks. If your pet typically uses a crate, you can put them in there and place a heavy quilt over the top of it to help reduce the noise. You may also want to include a long-lasting treat to help distract them or toss in their favorite toy to help keep them occupied.

Third, keep fireworks lighter fluid and matches out of Paw’s reach! On top of the Fourth of July being a day where most pets go missing, the Animal Poison Control Center also reports that the most commonly receive calls about pets who eat sparklers. The chemicals found in fireworks and sparklers can have very harmful effects on pets if ingested, ranging from gastrointestinal irritation to severe stomach upset. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to the skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression.

Fourth, keep your pet away from glowing jewelry. We know, it looks so cute! Getting your pet dazzled up for the holiday even if they are staying home is so fun. Be sure to steer clear of the glow jewelry because your pet could chew it up and swallow the plastic adornments. Although they are not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.

Firework shows are a blast for pet parents to attend. But as tempting as it may be to bring your pet along for the festivities, a better idea is to simply leave them at home in their safe room or crate. Keep in mind that after the Fourth of July celebrations are complete, your pet may still be stressed and anxious. Keep a watchful eye on him or her and do not let them out without a leash.  We also recommend walking along your property to check for any debris before taking your pet out. You may find some pieces from the fireworks that can be dangerous to your pet, sparklers, and other hazardous things. Keep your pet safe, clean up first, rest later, and snuggle up with your fur baby for a nap in the cool of the A/C! We hope these tips help you and your pet have a wonderful and safe holiday!

June 30, 2022 — Cathy Halaszi