Many people enjoy fireworks over the July 4th holiday, but fireworks can be terrifying for pets—causing many animals to escape their homes or yards and become lost. Animal shelters across the country often report an increase in strays following the July 4th holiday.
According to the Kentucky Humane Society’s free Pet Help Line, 502-509-4PET, owners can help keep their pets safe during Independence Day festivities by following these simple guidelines:
- Leave pets at home during firework displays. Animals have a heightened sense of hearing so the loud “booming” noise can be deafening and cause pets to panic and want to hide. Take pets for quiet walks before the festivities begin or after they end.
- Keep pets indoors. 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. Owners who are leaving town for the holiday should consider boarding their pets.
- 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.
- 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.
For more advice on pet-related questions, call KHS’ free Pet Help Line, 502-509-4PET, or visit www.kyhumane.org/help. The Pet Help Line is funded by grants from Dogs Trust Worldwide and PetSmart Charities.