Fourth of July: Fireworks are not pet-friendly

Coogie, a Jack Russell rescue pup, will be kept at home during fireworks on the Fourth of July. Photo by Laura Archazki-Pacter

Coogie, a Jack Russell rescue pup, will be kept at home during fireworks on the Fourth of July. Photo by Laura Archazki-Pacter

John Adams in a letter to his wife way back when, on July 3, 1776 wrote that America’s Independence Day celebrations, “ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bon fires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.”

Today’s July Fourth illuminations in local night skies, are not far off from Adam’s description. Fireworks are an epically happy ending to folks picnics, hot dogs, burgers, beach barbeques, and parties here.

Perhaps it may be tempting to bring the family pup to see picnics and experience fireworks displays, too. But local pet experts agree, it’s best to leave pets at home. Amanda Townsend, Director of Domestic Animal Services, reminds everyone to keep pets microchipped with up- to- date information just in case a furry best friend tries to make a run for it.

“Pets tend to be scared during the fireworks,” says Townsend from her office located off Davis Boulevard. “We had an incredible story last year, where a seeing- eye dog ran away from his owner, during the New Year’s Eve fireworks, and he was returned, because he had an implanted microchip,” she recalls.

However, Townsend noted, “the microchip was registered to the dogs’ training center, instead of to the owner, so it took a more time for the dog to be reunited with his owner.” But a happy ending, and a reunification happened, due largely in part to the implanted microchip, and the coordinated efforts of Collier County Domestic Animal Services.

Stories like this are all too common during the Fourth of July, so keep these tips in mind and “paws” for a moment to register a pet with an implanted microchip, when your pets are at home on the Fourth of July.

To protect pets on the Fourth of July, here are precautions from the Humane Society from www.hsus.org:

• Resist the urge to take your pet to fireworks displays.

• Do not leave your pet in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects—even death—in a few short minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but they do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.

• 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 items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep him company while you’re attending Fourth of July picnics, parades, and other celebrations.

• If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays.

• Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.

• Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly. Animals found running at-large should be taken to the local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.

“Fireworks are like thunderstorms to dogs. Some dogs can get so upset, they chew their way through locked doors. There are medications for anxiety, and you can also keep them confined, but every dog is different” says Dr. Arthur Newman, DVM, of Crossroads Veterinary Clinic. “If you live in house that is close to fireworks, and you know your dog is prone to anxiety, you can also bring your dog to another home in the area where fireworks are not heard as easily.”

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