Although the fireworks display for the city of Medina was postponed due to COVID-19, some fireworks enthusiasts may be planning their own home display over the July Fourth weekend, so knowing how to keep your furry friends safe and happy during the festivities is still important. To ensure you avoid fireworks-related mishaps, follow our Medina Veterinary Clinic guidelines.
#1. Keep fireworks and pets separate
Although your goofy Lab and chill cat may love to lounge around while you and your friends are setting off fireworks, they should stick to watching out the window. Fireworks and sparklers contain chemicals that vary in toxicity, depending on the product type and exposure level. Some fireworks-eating pets may experience vomiting, bloody diarrhea, or abdominal pain, while others could suffer more serious effects, including seizures or kidney failure. If your pets make the mistake of trying to bite, chew, or catch a lighted rocket or sparkler, they could end up with painful mouth, lip, or nose burns. Plus, your pet may not directly contact the fireworks, but the smoke can still irritate their eyes, and falling debris may burn their skin. To avoid these perils, store fireworks out of your pet’s reach, and ensure they are inside whenever you light them, or your kids have sparklers. If you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, still check your yard carefully for debris, before you let your pets outside. Also, watch for debris on your walks, as these pieces can be as dangerous as intact fireworks, when ingested. If your furry friend ingests or chews any fireworks, or suffers other fireworks-related injuries, immediately contact Medina Veterinary Clinic, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center or Pet Poison Helpline, or bring your pet to the nearest veterinary emergency clinic for treatment.
#2: Reduce stress for noise sensitive pets
We accept the loud fireworks booms as a good trade off for their beauty, but to pets, the display is all scary booms, and no beauty. Anxiety from fireworks is detrimental to your pet’s mental well-being, and pets who become highly agitated may attempt to chew or break out of their crate or room, or escape from the house or yard. To help your pet cope with the noise and stay as calm as possible, try some of these tricks:
- Turn on the radio, TV, or a sound machine to help cover the noise.
- Move your pet to an interior room with no windows, where the sound is more muffled.
- Prepare your dog over several weeks by softly playing recordings of fireworks, while giving treats, and gradually increasing the volume as they become more comfortable.
- Use a ThunderShirt or other anxiety-reducing tight-fitting shirt.
- Ask our veterinary team if anxiety-reducing medications are a good choice for your pet. We may recommend a trial dose of the medication, to determine how your pet reacts, so don’t wait until the last minute to explore this option.
- Exercise your pets well before the fireworks start, so they are tired and relaxed.
- Remain calm and reassuring, so your pet knows there is nothing to worry about.
#3: Prevent your pet from getting lost
According to the ASPCA, loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms are responsible for almost one in five dogs who go missing. A panicked pet may bolt out of a door, jump out a window, or run away as fast as they can, with little regard for their own safety, or your calls to come back. The most well-trained, mild-mannered pet is not immune to a fireworks-induced fight-or-flight response, but the following precautions can help reduce the chance of your beloved furry friend becoming lost, when the fireworks start:
- Keep your pet inside, and ensure that all doors and windows are securely latched, to prevent escape or a fall. Be especially cautious when opening the door to go outside.
- Walk your fence perimeter, to ensure your yard will contain a pet who gets scared by unexpected neighborhood fireworks, and check that the gate is latched.
- Always use a leash when outside in unfenced areas, whether or not your pet is usually trustworthy off-leash.
- Ensure your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags, and is microchipped, and that both have up-to-date information, so you can be reunited if your lost pet is found.
If you want to discuss how to decrease fireworks anxiety in your pets, need to get your pet microchipped, or have any other questions, Medina Veterinary Clinic is here to help. Use these guidelines and our team’s expertise, to ensure you and your pet have a fun, safe, low-stress July Fourth.