Studies show that July 5th is the busiest day for animal shelters due to the number of pets that show up that panicked at the noise of firecrackers that fled into the night or that are lost. Veterinarians also experience more visits with scared, injured or in some cases killed pets as a result of the holiday and good intentions.
Unlike people, pets don’t associate the noise, flashes, and burning smell of pyrotechnics with celebrations. Pets are terrified of fireworks, and often panic at the loud whizzes and bangs they produce.
1. Keep your Pet Indoors at All Times
If your pet is used to being outside, the resulting panic caused by fireworks or other loud noises may make them break their restraint or jump a fence in a terrified attempt to find safety. Bring all pets indoors until the fireworks and parties are over.
2. Use only Pet Specific Insect Repellant
The same tip applies to applying “people” sunscreen on your pet. What isn’t toxic to humans can be toxic to animals. The ASPCA lists the poisonous effects of sunscreen on your pet as, “…drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy.” DEET, a common insecticide, may cause neurological issues.
3. Alcoholic Drinks Poison Pets
Any alcohol can cause your pet to become dangerously intoxicated, go into a coma, or in severe cases, die from respiratory failure. Even beer is toxic; fermented hops and ethanol are poisonous to dogs, cats and birds.
4. Do not take pets to Fireworks Displays.
The safest place for your pet is at home, not in a crowded, unfamiliar and noisy place. The combination of too many people and loud fireworks will make your beloved pet freak out and desperately seek shelter. Locking them in the car is also not an option; your pet may suffer brain damage and heat stroke.
5. Have Your Pet Properly Identified
Your pet may break loose and become lost. Make sure they have proper identification such as a microchip or ID tags with their name and your phone number, or both. It is also a good idea to have a recent picture of your pets in case you have to put up signs.
6. No Glow Sticks
Avoid the cute ‘glow in the dark’ wands sticks around pets. Pets may chew them and the ASPCA states that while 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.”
7. Never use Fireworks around Pets
While lit fireworks can pose a danger to curious pets and potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws, even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.
8. Don’t Give Your Pet “Table Food” from your Picnic
If you are having a backyard barbeque, you may be tempted to slip some snacks to your pet. But like beer and chocolate, there are other festive foods that could harm your pet. Onions, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough are all possible hazards for dogs and cats.
9. Lighter Fluid and Matches Are Harmful to Pets.
The ASPCA lists chlorates as a harmful chemical substance found in some matches that, if ingested, can cause your pet difficulty in breathing, damage blood cells or even cause kidney disease. If exposed to lighter fluid, your pet may sustain skin irritation on contact, respiratory problems if inhaled, and gastric problems if ingested.
10. Citronella Insect Control Products Harm Pets, Too.
Oils, candles, insect coils and other citronella-based repellants are irritating toxins to pets, according to the ASPCA. The result of inhalation can cause severe respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, and ingestion can harm your pet’s nervous system.
The best thing for your pets is to exclude them from all festivities. Find a safe and secure spot inside the home or garage, giving them plenty of water. Make sure all doors and escape routes are secure. Your pets will appreciate the quiet and you can enjoy the fireworks knowing your pet is safe at home.
Thanks again to Veterinary Education Network (VEN) for this great content. Wishing you and your family and safe and happy Independence Day!