Protect Your Pet on July 4th

June 30, 2010

Many pet owners find joy in bringing their companions everywhere they go; however, 4th of July fireworks can bring about extreme fear and panic among our furry friends causing them to act out of character and possibly flee from their home or yard to escape the noise. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe and comfortable while celebrating.

Resist the urge to take your pet to fireworks displays – the fireworks, commotion and loud voices can be too much for pets to handle. And although pets may have no current issues with loud noises, these fears can develop later if a situation can be too much for the pet.

Do not leave your pet in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects—even death—in a few short minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but they do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.

• Keep your pets indoors at home in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you’ve removed any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep him company while you’re attending Fourth of July picnics, parades, and other celebrations. Keep the windows shut and shades pulled. This can help your pet feel more safe and secure.

• If your pet behaves nervously by pacing, whining or crying, distract them by playing with her or doing something they enjoy. Don’t stroke, pet or reassure them by saying, “Don’t worry, it’s okay.” This may actually reinforce their nervousness or fright.

• If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays.

• Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.

• Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly. Animals found running at-large should be taken to the local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.

• Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.

Animal shelters across the country are accustomed to receiving “July 4th” dogs – dogs who run off during fireworks celebrations and are rescued by animal control officers or good Samaritans who take them to the shelter. Should you lose your pet, we encourage you to check your local shelter immediately.