How to Keep Pets Safe During Fireworks

July 4th and New Years are the days that animal shelters (and many pet owners) dread the most. These holidays are often associated with fireworks which, though beautiful, create a very scary situation for our pets.

Pets tend to flood animal shelters around these holidays, particularly July 4th, because the noise generated from the firework displays is frightening and pets will often run off, sometimes breaking windows and slipping out of collars and leashes to escape.

If there is one thing I can recommend to people who have pets, it is to make sure that your pet is microchipped and the information is up to date. If your pet escapes from its collar, then the microchip is the only thing tying you to your pet. Animal shelters scan animals for microchips upon admission and they will do everything in their power to trace down owners until they reach a dead end. Having your information current means you can be reunited sooner and with less of a hassle.

Preventing pets from escaping and keeping them safe at home is preferable, of course. Some tips for keeping your pets safe at home include:

  • Always keep dogs and cats inside when fireworks are being let off. Walk your dog before the fireworks start. Do not simply let your dog out in the yard. If you take your dog out into the yard to use the bathroom, make sure you have your pet on a secure collar and leash.
  • Close all windows and doors, and block off dog and cat doors to prevent pets from escaping and to keep noise to a minimum. Close curtains to dampen the noise and consider turning on the TV or music to make the noise from fireworks less frightening. If your pets are not accustomed to TV or music playing, this might not be the best idea.
  • Prepare a safe room, preferably with no windows that you can set up with a comfortable bed, food and water where your pet can feel safe and comfortable.
  • Avoid leaving your pet alone. If you do have to leave the house, don’t get angry with your pet if you find it has been destructive after being left on its own. Shouting at a frightened pet will only make it more stressed.
  • Don’t tie your dog up outside while fireworks are being let off, i.e. outside a shop, in the garden, or in your car.
  • Never take your dog to a fireworks display. Even if it doesn’t bark or whimper at the noise, it doesn’t mean it is happy. Excessive panting and yawning can sometimes indicate that your dog is stressed.
  • Contact your veterinarian for medication to help calm and sedate your pet before fireworks start.

If your pet does go missing, head to your local animal shelter as soon as possible to look for your pet and file a lost pet report. If your pet is microchipped, you are much more likely to be reunited with your pet.

One in three pets will become lost at some point during their life.

A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, including 53 animal shelters across the U.S., confirmed the high rate of return of microchipped dogs and cats to their families, and the importance of microchip registration. From the study:

  • Only about 22 percent of lost dogs that entered the animal shelters were reunited with their families. However, the return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52 percent (a 238 percent increase).
  • Less than 2 percent of lost cats that entered the animal shelters were reunited with their families. The return-to-owner rate for microchipped cats was dramatically higher at over 38 percent (more than 2000 percent better).
  • Only 58 percent of the microchipped animals’ microchips had been registered in a database with their pet parent’s contact information.

Take home message – Microchip your pets and KEEP THE INFORMATION UP TO DATE! If you don’t know how, call your veterinarian or local animal shelter for help!

Posted on July 3, 2014, in Shelter Vet Tails and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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