July 4: The Curse of Fireworks and Pets

peg mcnichol dog in bed

By Kevin C. Madigan

Every year, thousands of domestic pets all over the country get scared out of their wits by fireworks on Independence Day, and even worse, by thoughtless people who blast firearms into the air to “celebrate” the occasion.

Dogs, with their acute hearing, are most vulnerable to loud noise and are especially sensitive to the repetitive cacophony of a firework show.

July 4 and New Year’s Eve share the dubious distinction of causing more pets to go astray annually than at any other time. Animal Control Services reports a 30% increase nationwide in lost pets from July 4 to July 6, and July 5 is said to be the busiest day of the year at animal shelters. Nationwide statistics indicate only 14% of lost pets are returned to their owners.

Here are some recommendations to avoid having your freaked-out pet disappear on you:

If you’re going out to see fireworks, leave the poor animals at home. Keep them inside a safe, quiet part of the house. Give them water and put on some soothing music. It may help drown out the noise outside.

Plan in advance. If your pet is particularly skittish, consider using a tranquilizer recommended by your vet. And always make sure there’s a collar and tag attached, just in case.

Dogs tend to hide for days after escaping, and only emerge when they feel the danger has passed. Keep checking with shelters and neighbors!

"Keep your dogs inside and secure beginning tonight (July 3) through Monday," advises a Facebook post from the Atlanta Underdog Initiative. "A lot of people are starting celebrations early."

Photos by Peg McNichol

peg mcnichol fireworks
peg mcnichol fireworks