The Importance of Your Pet's Safety
on July 4th

Please watch your pets carefully on July 4th and other occasions in which fireworks are used. Pets can do the craziest things out of fear and it could cost them their lives. Their ears are more sensitive than ours and they panic easily with loud sounds.

One year my dog pushed open a door to get outdoors during a fireworks show that was taking place about a half a mile away. She freaked out so badly, that before I could catch her and put her back indoors, she had wedged herself underneath my car. I tried to get her to crawl out but she was stuck. I knew that I could probably get her out of there with some help, but what concerned me was that I had recently driven the car and it was still hot. She was stuck on pipes and could get badly burned. Since I was alone, and already hysterical at the prospects of my dog dying under the car, I phoned my son for help (if he hadn't been available I would have called the fire dept. and a neighbor) and he helped me to jack up the car so she could crawl out. Her skin was hot but thankfully she wasn't burned to the point of any blisters or hair loss.

In some cities people throw fireworks on the streets, shoot off guns, do just about anything without any regard for another's life. You never know what your pets are capable of doing when in terror, so please keep them safe and indoors during these holidays. And, of course, keep yourselves safe, too.

A frightened pet is one that is more likely to exhibit behavior that is out of character, such as bolting or biting. Therefore, the Humane Society strongly recommends that you leave your pet safely at home. Before you head out for the family fun, take a few minutes to do a safety check of your home. Make sure screens, windows, and doors are secure. If you are home, you might keep your pet in the bathroom with the door closed - when frightened they tend to cower in a corner in the room. Play some soft music to muffle the booming of nearby fireworks and to provide some comfort to your pet while you're away. I also suggest leaving water and food for your pet. Update: In 2009, J.J. a drug-sniffing police dog who is terrified of fireworks was placed in a special cage during July 4, and once the fireworks began, he forced his way out of it, which was no easy feat. He deformed the metal latch and pried it open. He was also slightly injured in the process. So, even a well-trained dog can freak out.

Resist leaving your pets in your yard where they may become frightened and escape. Never leave your pet chained while unsupervised, as he or she may become tangled and could potentially strangle. Finally, never, ever leave your pet in the car during warm weather. Vehicles heat up extremely rapidly to temperatures that can cause grave harm to your pet, including seizures, irreversible organ damage, and death. Be careful that their paw pads don't burn on hot pavement (so don't walk them during the hottest times of the day or keep them only on pavement).

Enjoy the 4th and may it be a safe one for you and your pets.