Ensure Pet Safety During Fireworks

The Fourth of July holiday may be a time for food, fun and fireworks for Delawareans, but what’s fun for humans can be dangerous for pets. The Division of Public Health Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) advises pet owners to be aware that fireworks cause many pets to run away, and that holiday foods and heat can be harmful to our four-legged family members.

The loud boom of fireworks can spook pets and cause them to run away. Additionally, parties present many opportunities for cats and dogs to be let in and out of houses or yards by guests. The following tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association can help keep pets are safe from harm during Independence Day celebrations.

· If your pet is sensitive to noises like fireworks or thunder, consult your veterinarian for recommendations on how to ease anxiety caused by fireworks and loud parties. Anxiety medications and treats, “thunder” shirts and behavioral training are all tools to help keep pets calm.
· Leave pets at home if attending gatherings elsewhere. In addition to fireworks, strange places and crowds can spook an animal and cause them to flee.
· Utilize a crate or escape-proof area of the home during parties and fireworks.
· Those who expect guests during the holiday, or any celebration, should inform their company to be mindful of pets when entering or exiting a home or yard to avoid accidental escapes. Place signs on doors and gates that alert guests to be vigilant about pets.
· Tell guests to refrain from sharing food meant for people as these can upset your pets’ stomach, or worse. After any in-home celebrations, check yards for food scraps and fireworks debris that animals may ingest.
· Make sure sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and skewers are out of reach from your pets.
· Stay vigilant about times when pets are outdoors. Pets are safest inside on hot and humid days. If they must be outside, ensure they have access to fresh water and secondary shade apart from dog and cat enclosures, which can become dangerously hot inside.

There are preventive steps owners can take to increase the chance of reunification with a pet that has run away. Make sure your pets have identification tags with current owner contact information. Have your pet microchipped, if they aren’t already. A microchip is an affordable device with owner information to ensure pets can return home if they get out and are found by someone else. Make sure the microchip is registered with up-to-date owner contact information. License your pet. It is the law in Delaware, and if your pet is picked up by animal welfare officers, it is your pet’s free ticket home. License information can be found at petdata/delaware.com.

Owners should have a clear, recent, picture of your pet(s) on hand in case the animal(s) run away. Post a picture, brief description and contact information on social media and make privacy settings accessible to the public so it can be shared and viewed by a larger audience than your contacts. Post bright flyers in your area.

If a pet does escape, post its photo and identifying information on the Office of Animal Welfare’s statewide Lost & Found Pet Registry, at animalservices.delaware.gov. Review found pet notices on the Lost & Found Pet Registry at animalservices.delaware.gov. Your pet may have been found by a neighbor or taken to a local animal shelter.

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