Keep your pets safe during Fourth of July fireworks

A Pug races up to a bottle (which has a bottle rocket in it and about to launch), slams on its brakes, and reverses course. A neighbor was launching bottle rockets to celebrate Switzerland's National Day. The dog ran off in plenty of time and was not harmed or affected in any way by this experience.Stock Image from Shuttershock

CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. – With all the excitement associatied with July the 4th, pet owners often do not realize the effects of fireworks on their pets until the celebrations have already begun. Some pets become so stressed by the commotion that they will run away from places where they usually feel safe. If your pet is suseptible to anxiety, especially due to loud noises, the time to prepare for the 4th of July fireworks is in the days before the event. The best bet for some pets may be anti-anxiety medication prescribed by a veterinarian.

For pet anxiety prescriptions, ASPCA recommends, “First and foremost, give a practice dose of the medication before the big night to see how your pet responds to the medication. Second, never share the medication with another pet or give more than the recommended amount. If you do, you may end up spending the holiday at your local veterinary emergency clinic.”

While cats are not usually as afraid of loud noises as dogs, if they do get scared, they will tend to hide. Playing quiet music and keeping pets indoors is a good way to prevent panic. If your pet doesn’t get anxiety due to fireworks and you’re setting them off at your own home, be sure to clean up the debris after the show to prevent animals from ingesting the toxic chemicals. Each 4th of July, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center sees an increase in calls about animals who have ingested hazardous materials from fireworks causing pets to develop gastrointesinal issues.

Fireworks can be equally as terrifying and toxic to wildlife. Wildlife rehabilitation centers are often flooded with traumatized, injured and orphaned wild animals after the holiday. The Humane Society suggests “silent” or “quiet” fireworks, laser shows or drone displays as colorful replacements for firework shows.

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