JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The July 4 holiday can be thrilling for humans, but it’s actually a dangerous time for pets -- and one of the busiest days of the year in animal emergency hospitals.
Exploding firecrackers can be just as hazardous for pets as for humans, but that’s not where the danger ends. The loud noise, and even the food and family gatherings, all pose hazards to dogs, cats, birds and other pets.
The Jacksonville Humane Society (JHS) shared its recommended tips to keep pets safe during the Fourth of July holiday:
1. Keep pets indoors. This is the easiest way to prevent potential injuries and runaways.
2. Create a designated comfort place. During fireworks, a kennel or closed-off room with your pet’s favorite toys, treats and blankets, or thunder shirts are great options to creating a place for your pet to feel safe. During daytime outdoor activities, keep your pet in a cool, shaded area with lots of water.
3. Keep harmful items away from pets. Keep unattended alcoholic beverages, sunscreen, matches, lighter fluid, citronella candles and other items toxic to pets out of reach.
4. Never use fireworks around your pets! Lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to a pet’s face or paws, but even unused fireworks contain toxic materials that pose danger to your pets.
5. Keep updated identification on your pets at all times. Whether your pet stays in or out during the festivities, having up-to-date identification and contact information can play a crucial role in reuniting you with your pet should they escape.
6. Register your pet on PetcoLoveLost.org, a site that uses facial recognition technology to reunite pets and families. In the event a pet goes missing, you can notify your neighborhood with just one click. More information can be found at lost.petcolove.org.
For any serious pet injuries, contact your veterinarian immediately. If your pet goes missing, JHS keeps an updated record of lost and found pets at jaxhumane.org/lost-and-found.
Dr. Christian Broadhurst, Senior Staff Veterinarian at Clay Humane, said fireworks can be unwelcoming for pets.
“It’s the sound, they are very sound sensitive. Their hearing is so much more acute than ours and here we go setting off things that make our ears ring so certainly our dogs and cats are very startled by it,” said Dr. Broadhurst.
He said it is common for pets to be scared or have anxiety from the displays.
“Generally speaking, they are at the very least hiding or trying to be right next to you and touch you at all times,” explained Dr. Broadhurst. “But, we have a lot of problems especially around the 4th of July with dogs not only being afraid but panicking and trying to escape.”
To help, Dr. Broadhurst recommends creating a safe space for your pet away from windows, using a crate if they are crate trained, and play white noise in the background, like a TV or radio. He also encourages pet owners to get their animals microchipped.
“Microchipping is probably the best way to reunite your runaway dog or cat with you,” said Dr. Broadhurst. “We’ve had dogs show up 5 to 10 miles away from where they were lost because they just run in a blind panic. Luckily, almost all veterinary clinics and pretty much all shelters will scan your dog for a microchip if found and brought into a facility.”