Help your dogs, cats handle fireworks

Everyone loves July 4th, right? Well, not pets.

Independence Day fireworks can be torture for animals and more pets – spooked by the noise and lights – are reported lost on July 4th than any other day.

“The Fourth of July means more animals showing up in animal shelters and in animal hospitals as a result of the fear induced by fireworks and other celebratory activities,” the American Veterinary Medical Association said. “Animals might hurt themselves when they get scared and try to escape, and you’ll spend your holiday searching for a lost pet if they do successfully escape.”

What can you do to help your dog and other pets weather the fireworks storm? Here are some tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association:

  • Make sure pets – cats and dogs – have identification tags with up-to-date information before July 4th. If your pet isn’t microchipped, consider having it done – it can greatly improve your chances of getting the animal back if it does run.
  • Take your pet for a walk before it gets dark and the fireworks start.
  • Don’t take your pets to public places where you know there will be fireworks, parades or other loud gatherings. The combination of the noise, an unfamiliar place and crowds can cause the even more fright for the animal.
  • Keep your pets inside if you’re setting off fireworks. Turn on the television or radio to a low volume to help mask outside noises.
  • Close the curtain or blinds.
  • Provide your pet with a safe space, such as a kennel or crate.
  • Keep sparklers, glow sticks, charcoal, etc. away from pets.
  • If you must take your pet outside, keep them on a leash.
  • After the fireworks show, check your yard for debris before allowing your pet back outside.
  • If your pet has a history of extreme reactions to fireworks, talk to your vet about tranquilizers.

Other safety tips

  • Make sure pets have water if they are joining in the outdoor fun.
  • Don’t leave alcoholic drinks where pets can access them. Alcohol can be deadly to pets.
  • Do not apply sunscreen to pets unless it is designed for their use. Human sunscreen can be poisonous to animals if ingested.
  • Keep glow sticks, citronella candles and tiki torches out of pet’s reach. All contain substances that can be harmful to animals.
  • Don’t let pets get near your barbecue grill while it is in use or still hot.

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