Many people enjoy fireworks over New Year’s Eve, but fireworks can be terrifying for pets—causing many animals to escape their homes or yards and become lost.

According to the Kentucky Humane Society’s free Pet Help Line, 502-509-4PET, owners can help keep their pets safe during New Year’s Eve festivities by following these simple guidelines:

  • Keep pets in a secure room indoors. If you are hosting a New Year’s Eve party or if there are fireworks in your area, keep your pet in a secure room. Close all windows and curtains to muffle the sound of fireworks, and always provide plenty of food and water. Turning on a radio, television or fan also may help calm your pet. For pets who experience severe anxiety, owners may want to consult their veterinarian about prescribing a mild sedative to ease the pets’ stress.
  • Make sure all pets wear collars with identification tags at all times, even if the pet only lives indoors. The ID tag should include the owner’s current address and phone number. Microchipping is also important, in case pet’s collars or tags are lost. Make sure that your pet’s ID tag and microchip information is up-to-date.
  • Keep alcohol away from pets. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, alcohol can be toxic to both dogs and cats resulting in symptoms such as drooling, dry heaves or vomiting, low blood pressure, and possible coma and death. See your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your animal has ingested any kind of alcohol.
  • Never let pets outside during fireworks. Pets can suffer burns, hearing loss and eye damage if they are too close to any explosion. Even having your dog on a leash may not prevent him from escaping during fireworks displays.
  • Distract your nervous pet. If pets exhibit uncharacteristic behavior, such as incessant pacing, crying or whining, owners should help distract them through play or another enjoyable pet activity.
  • Clean up firework debris before letting pets outside. If pets eat the debris, it may cause digestive problems or serious injuries. Owners should contact their veterinarian immediately if their pets have been exposed to any potentially toxic or poisonous substances.

Beware of New Year’s Eve decorations, including streamers, noisemakers, balloons and tinsel. Animals use their mouths to examine strange new objects and it is too easy for them to swallow these items.

For more advice on pet-related questions, call KHS’ free Pet Help Line, 502-509-4738, or visit www.kyhumane.org/help. The Pet Help Line is funded by grants from Dogs Trust USA and Banfield Foundation.

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