While celebrating Independence Day, remember to spare concern for pets that can be frightened by the noise from fireworks.
Animal-care experts say July 4 is one of the days when pets are most likely to run away from home, startled by the sudden explosions.
“It doesn’t have to be a big fireworks display — it can be the neighbor out in his yard,” said Bill Suro of the MaxFund shelter in Denver. “It’s the same phenomena as thunderstorms. It’s basically panic.”
Across Facebook and Twitter, pet owners have been complaining all weekend about the impact fireworks are having on their animals, with many expecting Monday night to be the crescendo.
Experts offer the following tips for minimizing pet stress and improving the odds your pet stays safe and returns home if frightened off:
- Don't take your pet to firework displays or leave your pet in the car at a fireworks show. In addition, opened windows do not provide sufficient air. Never leave your pets alone in the car.
- Keep your pets indoors at home in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you've removed any fragile items. Also leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep them company and help drown out the fireworks noise.
- Provide a safe "escape" place. Pets will seek out a small den-like place, such as a crate, if they are fearful or stressed.
- Don't leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. Pets who normally wouldn't leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.
- Use a leash or carrier if you're outside with your animal.
- License and microchip your pet. Having identification will increase the likelihood that your pet will be returned to you if lost.
- Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly.
Source: Denver Animal Shelter, ASPCA