Many animals are incredibly anxious during the Independence Day holiday festivities. People “oohhh” and “aawww” over the sight of beautiful firework displays, but for animals this is a frightening experience. Due to a dog’s keen sense of hearing, fireworks sound much louder to them. Because of this, many dogs will run at the first fireworks bang. Dogs have been known to dig under fences, tear through screen doors and windows, and chew their way out of crates when they are afraid.
Because so many animals are startled and frightened by exploding fireworks, Minneapolis Animal Care & Control impounds a great number of pets during the first few weeks of July and recommends the following to keep your pets safe:
1. Keep your pets indoors as much as possible on the Fourth of July.
2. Secure your dog in a harness and/or collar and leash when going outside.
3. Drown out the noise of fireworks using music or television.
4. Close windows and doors to lessen the sound.
5. Some pets are soothed by the presence of their owners – keep calm, distract your pet by petting, giving food or treats, grooming, and other hands-on activities.
6. For animals that find their own hiding places, let them be.
Fireworks aren’t the only holiday hazard
For many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard on the Fourth of July with good friends and family—including the four-legged members of the household. While it may seem like a great idea to reward Rover with scraps from the grill and bring him along to watch fireworks, in reality some festive foods and products can be potentially hazardous to your pets. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offers the following tips:
Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. 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 skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.
Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.
Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is 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.
Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingestions can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.
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.
Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.