The Dangers of Fireworks and Your Pets
The fourth of July can be overwhelming for your pets. Even the most secure pet can show signs of apprehension and fear while fireworks are going on around them. Not only are fireworks loud, your pet can also be frightened by the abnormal flashing of lights, the ear-piercing sound as the miniature missiles take flight and the smell of fire and burning debris; all of their senses can kick into the fight or flight response and send your pet fleeing in terror. Some dogs may try to escape by jumping a fence, digging a hole or even breaking windows.
What to do?
Do not take your pet with you! Most dogs find fireworks too overwhelming and they could break their leash or escape in an attempt to get away. Your dog’s sense of smell, hearing and vision are all too keen for them to enjoy the merriment like we do, understand that they do not need to or want to be a part of the party.
Exercise your pet prior to the start of any fireworks! Take your dog to the lake, hiking, biking, or fishing for the day anything that is sure to make him very tired in the evening and throughout the night. Your dog will be better off if he is exhausted and sleeps through the impending festivities.
Keep your pets indoors throughout the night. If you must take your pet outside do it before it gets dark and if festivities have begun put your pet on a leash.
Make sure your pet has a current I.D. tag on in case of an emergency.
Prepare a secure indoor area where your pet will feel comfortable during the celebrations. Remove any potentially dangerous objects from the room in case your pet becomes startled and tries to get away.
Pull all shades in order to decrease the visual effects.
Turn on and turn up some soothing music for your pet to help diminish the severity of the noises going on around them.
If possible, especially if you have a new pet, try and spend some quality time together playing games, training and bonding during this time. Spending time together and mentally stimulating your dog will help to decrease anxiety by giving him something else to do and focus on and it ensures you are by his side in case of emergency.
Good luck and stay safe!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.