Neighborhood Fireworks Spark Concern for Pet Safety
With the expected firework displays and festivities of 4th of July, pet owners know the holiday can be chaotic for their furry friends.
Best Friends Animal Society has a few pet safety tips to help ease your pets’ anxiety this holiday weekend.
What does COVID-19 have to do with fireworks and pets?
With communities across the country cancelling their celebrations to prevent crowds from gathering, some traditions – including the very loud ones – will be especially close to home. In the absence of planned events, fireworks vendors have reported a significant increase in sales this year. Celebrations will be more dispersed this year, which could lead to a lot of scattered neighborhood firework shows.
Animals, especially dogs, can have a phobic reaction to fireworks and other loud sights and sounds. Their reactions may show signs of extreme anxiety. Dogs have been known to dig under or jump over fences, break tethers, or even shatter windows in response to their fireworks fears.
In a normal year in the U.S., the July 4th weekend is one of the busiest shelter intake times of the year. However due to COVID-19 protocols, animal control agencies have their officers working on an “emergencies-only” basis. Many agencies have limited resources and are only picking up stray animals who are sick, injured, or already contained. Therefore, panicked pets spooked by fireworks, are at a higher risk of running loose for unknown periods of time.
Another byproduct of limited animal control operations is that concerned neighbors, who would otherwise take a found pet to a veterinary clinic or shelter, may have more difficulty accessing these services. Many shelters are entirely closed to the public, so for lost pets who do end up being taken in by animal control officers, owners will need to contact the shelter by phone or check their website to find out how they can look for and hopefully reunite with their lost pet.
For these reasons, it’s more important than ever that pet parents take precautions to keep their furry family members home, comfortable, and safe this weekend.
Not So Friendly Fire: Things to Keep in Mind For Your Pet
Best Friends Animal Society offers the following tips to help keep pets safe around July 4th. Keep in mind that in many areas, it’s legal to light fireworks a few days before, on the holiday, and a few days after.
- Bring all pets indoors whenever neighborhood fireworks displays are likely. Secure dogs in a room, close widows and curtains, and play loud music or turn on the television to drown out the frightening sounds. Some experts even suggest playing a war movie to blend the sound from the TV with the sounds from outside.
- Plan ahead so that dogs who are extremely anxious can take a stress-relief supplement, wear a calming coat, or even use prescription anti-anxiety medications from a veterinarian.
- Keep pets away from lit fireworks at all times, including your own backyard. Some pets will chase after the bright moving objects and are at risk to be burned or blinded in the process.
- Ensure that pets are wearing current identification tags, and make sure your correct contact info is recorded with the vet clinic or shelter.
- Remember what to do if your pet does go missing over the holiday. Contact local animal shelters immediately and keep checking back. Also check social media to see if someone nearby has posted about the lost pet. Walk the neighborhood to look for found pet flyers. Put up your own flyers with a good description and photo of the pet. Keep looking and don’t give up.
Everyone has been through a lot in this first half of 2020, so being kind and compassionate in addition to protecting our pets is a good way to celebrate a national holiday!