Firework Safety Tips for Dogs

With the 4th of July approaching, many of us may be looking forward to enjoying a brilliant display of fireworks at a local park or possibly even shooting off some near our own homes.   Wherever you are enjoying the fireworks there is one important thing to remember; “fireworks and dogs don’t mix.”

I don’t know what it is.  Could it be the loud booms and pops?  The echoing sound?  A level of sound that is only detectable to a dog?  Whatever it is dogs simply don’t like fireworks.  One dog spends the entire evening barking, while the other whines unless he is close to a family member.  Use these simple tips to make your family and your dog that much more comfortable during this special holiday celebration.

  1. Going to the park?  This is one time it’s best to leave your dog at home.  Not only can your dog get lost in the crowd, they won’t enjoy the noise of the fireworks but add the excitement of the celebration and you may be creating a recipe for doggy disaster.
  2. Firing fireworks at home?   Make sure that your pet is carefully controlled inside the house avoiding dangers of burns or accidents.
  3. Simply spending a quiet evening at home?  Keep your dog inside with you.  Dogs left outside could be injured by a stray firework or still hot spot on one that lands in your yard. (Yes, where I live private citizens can shoot off fireworks – except this year during a burn ban.) Another danger with your dog being outside is that they become too excited, over heated or even successfully attempt a “get away” not from the noise but from your backyard.  In the house, keep your pet in an interior room and play music or have a television on to mute the noise of fireworks.
  4. Make sure that your dog’s tags are up to date with information and hopefully they are micro chipped. This way should you take your dog out and about with you and become separated they can be as easily found, as they were lost.
  5. The heat and noise are not the only dangers to your dog.  The chemicals used in fireworks are toxic and according to  Dr. Justine Lee, DVM, DAVECC, Associate Director of Veterinary Services at Pet Poison Helpline ““If ingested, fireworks can cause gastrointestinal signs like vomiting, a painful abdomen, and even bloody diarrhea.”  “In severe cases, tremors or seizures can be seen, along with acute kidney failure, jaundice (yellowing of the skin), bone marrow changes and shallow breathing. If dermal exposure has occurred, then burns to the nose, face, lips, or inside of the mouth may be seen, due to the curious nature of our pets. Eye irritation or conjunctivitis can also occur from the chemicals and the secondary smoke,” he continues.
  6. Place the contact information for your vet, an emergency veterinarian and the Pet Poison Hotline where you can easily find it.  In my house that means next to the phone or on the fridge.  This way in the event of an emergency you can quickly get your pet the help they need.
  7. If you, like our family, know that your dog may need a little extra help staying calm during fireworks, contact your veterinarian in advance and get a sedative.  Sedatives for people cannot be used and may even do more harm than good to your pet.
  8. Clean up clean up, everybody everywhere.  After the party is over make sure that all the trash, fireworks, foods and other items are carefully disposed of. Dogs love trash cans! Check the lawn for stray poppers and any other items that may have landed.

During this special holiday season, fireworks are not the only danger. Make sure gates are properly secured as it’s easy during a party to lose one of your “guests” including the four legged variety. Keep lighter fluid, matches, charcoal, sunscreen, citronella and other BBQ and outdoor party supplies away from your pets and make sure that they are properly hydrated during our hot holiday season.  Make sure guests know not to feed Fido or Fee Fee. At one party, we quickly had to stop a guest from giving out pet a chocolate brownie!

As tempting as it may be to make your 4th of July fireworks a family event, this is one instance where you can make sure that for your dog, “There is no place like home.”

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply