Fireworks and Pets: Keeping Your Furry Companions Safe This Fourth of July Holiday 

fireworks and pets

With the Fourth of July steadily approaching, Americans across the country are eager to celebrate the nation’s 248th birthday. Many will celebrate the holiday by gathering with their loved ones, barbecuing food, and… setting off fireworks. Lighting up the sky with fireworks has long been a tradition for celebrating American independence. However, this tradition can be quite troubling for some, as most pet owners are already aware; fireworks and pets don’t mix. 

Fireworks and Pets Don’t Mix

The exploding sounds and visuals of fireworks can be incredibly jarring for animals and may lead to disastrous outcomes. Besides outright frightening them, the commotion of fireworks can cause pets and their owners significant stress and trauma. They often cause pets to flee in a panic and become lost. According to Pet Amber Alert, the country sees an increase of “30–60% in lost pets each year between July 4–6,” and that “July 5 is one of the busiest days of the year for [animal] shelters.” Sadly, there is also an increase in car accidents during this time as pets will dart into roadways in fear from all the raucous. Another unfortunate byproduct of mass firework usage during the Fourth of July is pets becoming ill. Per EmpowerLA, pets commonly ingest fireworks, used or unused, which causes pets to become seriously ill. Ingesting fireworks can cause damage to an animal and may even lead to death. 

How You Can Keep Your Pets Safe

It is imperative for owners to act proactively to negate the chances of these bad situations occurring. Firstly, if one knows that their pet already struggles with anxiety and is likely to be scared during the holiday festivities, they should reach out to their primary care veterinarian prior to the holiday and see if their pet can be prescribed anti-anxiety medications. Owners should also ensure their pets are microchipped, wearing a collar with ID tags, and kept in a secure location. The Humane Society of the United States recommends that pets be kept inside with background noise playing, such as music or television, to help dilute the noise of the fireworks. They also suggest owners be on the lookout for pets breaking through door screens or jumping through windows as some “may take desperate measures to escape the noise.” Never leave fireworks in a spot where your pet can get to them. As previously stated, pets will often try to consume them, and this can cause serious medical issues. 

Heat stroke is a major concern during the summer, but especially on the Fourth of July. Before the fireworks, it is common for families and friends to get together outside during the daytime. Remember that pets should not be in the heat for extended periods of time, especially without water. Do not leave your pet in a parked vehicle as the temperature inside of the vehicle can spike incredibly fast. Also, remember that dogs’ paws are susceptible to hot surfaces. The Humane Society recommends that if you are unable to keep your hands comfortably on a surface for five seconds, a dog should not be walking on that surface. 

The Bottom Line

If your pet’s demeanor seems off and you have good reason to suspect they may have ingested fireworks or have been exposed to the heat for too long, bring them to an emergency veterinary hospital. If you know that your pet gets extremely anxious from loud noises, consult with a veterinarian to see what your best options are to help. 

Evolution Veterinary Specialists is a 24/7 emergency veterinary hospital located in Lakewood, CO with a dedicated team of board-certified veterinarians with a wide range of different specialties. Contact us at 720-510-7707 to learn more. 

If you think your pet is having an emergency, please contact us immediately