Fireworks Can Cause Panic for Pets...

Keep your pets safe this Fourth of July and the weeks before the big day, when the firework season starts, by preparing them and your home for what can be a scary and anxiety-provoking experience. Don't forget about those days after when folks burn up the last of their holiday stock.

For most of us, Independence Day celebrations are fun and exciting, an opportunity to gather with friends or go into town and watch spectacular fireworks displays – flashing lights in a rainbow of colors punctuated with the "Boom! Boom! Boom!" that signifies the gunshots of victory and the birth of our nation.

But for animals, bright lights and loud noises can be frightening, causing panic and hysteria. Cats and dogs possess hearing that is much more sensitive than human hearing. The bang of a firecracker strikes many pets on a survival level and spells certain doom – a sensation that instills a visceral, primitive fear and can cause them to overreact, becoming destructive or bolting in panic.

It is common for animal shelters to become overcrowded in the weeks before and over the July 4th holiday, as scared pets flee the confines of their yards seeking the security of their human companions and a place to escape the cacophony of noise. Even worse are those animals that dart across the street and are hit by vehicles, never to return home.

The Oregon Spay/Neuter Fund urges you to keep your pets safe this 4th of July and weeks before and after by taking some simple precautions:

  • Please do not take your pets to firework displays. They will not find the crowds exciting and may react to the loud noises by running, hurting themselves and others.
  • Keep your pets indoors at home including the weeks before, in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so make sure you've removed any items your pet could destroy or would be harmful to your pet if chewed. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep him comfortable while you're attending 4th of July celebrations.
  • If you know your pet is distressed by loud noises such as fireworks and thunder, consult your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate their fear and anxiety.
  • Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or tied up. In their fear pets that wouldn’t normally leave their yard may escape and become lost, or get tangled up in their lead, risking injury or even death.
  • Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags and/or are microchipped (and your registration information is up-to-date with the chip company) so if they do become lost they can be returned promptly.
  • If they do get lost, be sure to check with all your nearby vet clinics (along with shelters) to see if your pet has been brought in to have checked for a microchip.