Fireworks & Your Pets’ Safety

Unless they just let their animals roam, most people don’t expect to lose their pets.  So any lost-pet posters you see and any pets you see running loose who clearly have a family, belong to someone who didn’t think their pet would get lost—meaning those pets belong to someone like you and me, someone who thought their pets were safe & protected.  Most of us can probably do more to protect our animals, but this is especially important around holidays with fireworks.

The days following the 4th of July in the U.S. are very busy for animal shelters and tons of lost posters go up for cats and dogs.  Some shelters even stay open for holiday so people can retrieve their pets that escape.

Most cats seem to respond to fireworks by hiding, but they are still at risk for bolting in a panic.  Dogs are also at great risk of escaping, but they may also respond to their fear with destruction or even aggression.

If your pet panics and runs away, this very thorough article has excellent advice, including putting out items scented strongly with your smells and your pet’s like your dirty clothes and your pets bedding or your cat’s litterbox.  Here are more good tips from a pet detective on finding your lost pet. Advice on how to make the most effective posters for your lost pet.  Post lost notices on Craigslist, with newspapers, and on your neighborhood blogs. (Unfortunately, Petfinder no longer has a section for people to post notices of their lost pets.)  Be sure to watch out for scams.

The first step is to keep your pets safe:

  1. don’t take your dog to fireworks shows
  2. keep your pets inside, DO NOT leave them outside, even if you fear they may damage your home
  3. don’t leave your pets alone
  4. if you have to leave them alone, do not leave them where they can destroy things and possibly escape or harm themselves
  5. DO NOT leave them chain or tied anywhere—it can lead to strangulation if you dog panics
  6. make sure your cats & dogs have on their collar & tags, are micro-chipped & that their info. is current
  7. close all exterior doors, windows, and pet doors
  8. take your dog on a long walk early in the day to help expend some energy
  9. if you have a sensitive dog, keep her on a leash at all times while she’s outside for walks or to potty, even if you’re not near a fireworks show and even if you’re in your yard or neighborhood—panicked dogs can jump over tall fences and burst through gates they normally could not get over or through
  10. if fireworks go off unexpectedly and your dog panics, get her to any enclosed space
  11. consider feeding your dog well before evening—food can help make him sleepy
  12. don’t leave matches/fireworks lying around—it could lead to heavy metal poisoning
  13. don’t set off fireworks with dog around—it could lead to burns and serious injury
  14. don’t leave your dog in a car
  15. if your dog is already crate trained she may feel safest in her crate
  16. allow your pets access to the inner-most room of your house, provide blankets to burrow under, etc.
  17. play music or the radio
  18. remember a terrified cat or dog can behave out of character, don’t push their limits

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