This Fourth of July, pet parents are urged to remember that holiday fireworks are often at the center of lost pets and injuries, and the proper measures should be taken to keep all dogs and cats as safe as possible.
More pets run away on the Fourth of July than any other day, so you should take extra steps to ensure their safety. Keep a keen eye on your dog during the commotion, and make sure your pet is wearing proper identification.
Dogs have been known to try and attack fireworks or firecrackers, eat them, catch them or try to play with them, sometimes resulting in horrible injuries.
“People toss a firework or firecracker in the air, and the dog jumps up, swallows it, and the firecrackers cause severe damage to the organs,” Colorado veterinarian Eliza Mazzaferro explained.
Mazzaferro said fireworks can cause injuries in less direct ways, too. “Pets get anxious and break out of kennels, jump through windows and get lacerations, and when loose, can get hit by cars,” she said.
Very anxious pets have been known to hurt themselves trying to flee from the unsettling sounds of fireworks. “I have seen them bite through a metal cage and injure their teeth and gums, and also jump through plate glass windows,” said Mazzaferro. “They try to escape the noise, not knowing that it is outside.”
Saipan Cares for Animals is taking precautions in the days leading up to Fourth of July festivities, knowing full well what can happen when a building full of animals is frantic with terror.
They dig out from underneath fences, they chew through fences, they harm themselves to get away from the sound because they don’t know what it is, all they know is that it’s loud and scary.
If you are going to be with your dog during the fireworks, sending the calming message that they are nothing to worry about will also help him to relax. Remember, though, while humans communicate with words, dogs communicate with energy, and will look to their pack leader for clues on how they should behave. If you’re not making a big deal or showing excitement about the fireworks, then he will learn to be less concerned as well.
Reasons why dogs are scared of fireworks
1. They’re loud.
Most fireworks make some kind of loud sound. Dogs have a more acute sense of hearing than humans, so those loud booms, crackles and whistles are alarming.
2. They’re unpredictable.
You expect fireworks on holidays like the Fourth of July, but for your dog, it’s just another day. Those firecrackers come without warning. The loud noises and flashing lights sound and look different each time. Plus, they come at different intervals, so dogs can’t get used to them.
3. They pose a threat.
The noise and unpredictability of fireworks leads many dogs to perceive them as a threat. This triggers their fight-or-flight response. Your dog may bark at the noises or try to run away and hide. He may show other signs of anxiety, too, like restlessness, panting, pacing and whining.
4. Fireworks make dogs feel trapped.
Fireworks are inescapable on holidays like Independence Day. So if the noises trigger your dog’s flight response, he will try to run from the threat. Unfortunately, there’s often nowhere to go, as you can still hear those loud booms indoors.
What to do
White noise: This works very well: While the boom of an exploding mortar round can shake the house we can drown 90 percent of all sounds by cranking up the volume on the television, turning on our indoor A/C unit, and cranking our fans to high. Remain calm and talk to them in a soothing voice.
Give your dogs a safe place: At our house our dog’s safe place is their crates. During firework season the importance of a crate is magnified. When loud noises strike indoor dogs finds more comfort in a dark closet than the crate so leave closet doors cracked so he can find his safe place. (PR)
ON THE NET