Pets and fireworks are never a good idea

Dogs do not like the sounds, smells and sights of fireworks. It's best to put pets in the house while enjoying the spectacle of fireworks displays during Independence Day celebrations
Staff Writer

Dogs and cats do not like loud noises.

The sound of fireworks can trigger a fight or flight impulse in both types of pets. As Independence Day celebrations are taking place tonight, pet owners should think about the four-legged family members who won't appreciate the fireworks displays.

According to the ASPCA, after the fireworks and before returning the dog to the yard, try to pick up the charred remains of the fireworks.

While cats tend to refrain, some dogs will eat anything, regardless of how it tastes. This includes fireworks. Never underestimate your pet’s level of curiosity.

Fireworks contain several types of chemicals and heavy metals. If there are fireworks at home, make sure to thoroughly clean up the area before letting the dog have access to that area again.

"If at all possible keep your pets indoors during any Independence Day celebrations," Winn Ellis, of the West Point Clay County Animal Shelter said. "Keep them as safe as possible. Even if you decide not to celebrate with fireworks, that doesn't mean your neighbors will do the same."

Ellis said pets will often run away if exposed to the loud explosions and flashing lights of fireworks. An animal doesn't understand what is going on and that they aren't in danger.

"Pet and fireworks do not mix," Ellis said. "Most animals are equipped with very acute hearing and the sound of fireworks seems much louder to sensitive ears. The loud squealing sounds of some rockets even before they explode is enough to frighten a pet. A dog or cat's sense of hearing is much better than our own."

According to the Humane Society, pets are far more sensitive to loud noises, flashing lights and strong smells, than humans, so during the July Fourth holiday (and the days around it when people are likely to set off fireworks), it's best to leave pets safely indoors, preferably with a radio or TV turned on to hide jarring noises.

Even pets who are usually kept outdoors should be brought inside. All pets, even those kept indoors full-time, should always wear collars with ID tags. Indoor-only pets can become so frightened during fireworks displays that they may take desperate measures to escape the noise, including breaking through windows or door screens. It’s also a good idea to have pets microchipped. If you can’t take a pet to a place away from fireworks, then have a travel kennel at home for the pet to feel safe in. if you’re not going to be home, have a friend or sitter there to keep your pet company and take them out to relieve themselves every four hours.

If a pet does become lost, contact the local animal shelter immediately

If a lost pet is found, either take it to the address on the tag or bring it to the local animal shelter so it can be reunited with its family. The local animal shelter is always a good place to start looking for a lost pet.

"If the family decides to put the pet into a crate or carrier, padding the sides with a blanket is a good idea," Ellis said. "That will cut down on the noise. Make sure there is an open area for air to flow. A TV or radio in the room is a good idea. Those noises are familiar."

Ellis said to put yourself in the animal’s place and think about how frightening those sounds and smells could be without understanding why they are happening.

"If your pet does run away," Ellis said. "Please check with us at the animal shelter. Pets that are lost are often picked up by Animal Control or brought in by someone who found the pet. If the pet has a microchip we can read it and contact the family. The same with a name and address tag on a collar."