Fireworks and fur babies don't mix. Here's how to keep the pets safe. (2024)

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  • BY TRACI HOWERTON | Contributing writer

    Traci Howerton

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As we approach the Fourth of July, many people are planning to celebrate with the customary display of fireworks. While the colorful lights in the sky are a lovely way to celebrate our independence, keep in mind that the loud bangs and booms, screeching sounds and bright flashes can be terrifying for pets. Even those that are normally not bothered by loud sounds or lightning and thunder can become distressed by fireworks.

Dogs have a more acute sense of hearing that we do, so the loud noises are tenfold for them. Fireworks are also unpredictable, so dogs cannot get acclimated to the frequency or repetition of the sounds.

This can cause serious stress and anxiety for pets. Whining, barking, panting, trembling, shaking, pacing, hiding, trying to escape, decreased appetite, drooling, potty accidents, dilated pupils or wide eyes, and even vomiting are all signs of anxiety in canines.

In severe cases of fear, seek advice from a veterinarian, as medication may be needed.

The Fourth of July is also the number one day of the year for lost pets. That's because they will go into flight mode and try to escape the lights and sounds. It never fails that the day after a fireworks celebration, our social media networks will be filled with posts of lost and found animals.

No one wants to lose a pet — especially one that is in a panic.

Here are some tips to keep pets safe this Independence Day:

STAY INSIDE: Keep pets indoors and secure the home and yard. We never know when the fireworks celebrations will begin or end as they often start a few days before and last several days after. Adjust your regular routine and use extra precautions for the days surrounding a fireworks holiday.

A QUIET SPOT: Provide pets with a safe, quiet, and secure area within the house. Turning up a television or radio to help buffer the noise from outside will also help minimize stress. A good chew toy or a nice Kong filled with treats are good distractions to keep the pup’s attention focused on something else.

GO EARLY: Get the potty breaks in early. If a dog is nervous, he will likely avoid going outside once the celebrations have started. If he needs to go out during the fireworks, use a leash to prevent the urge to bolt. Even if the yard is fenced, a terrified dog can quickly dig out or jump the fence.

KEEP THEM HOME: It is never a good idea to take the dog to a fireworks display or to have it outside when setting off fireworks. Some dogs try to chase and catch the fireworks, which can cause serious injury. Also, allow for accidents. If you're away from home, do not be surprised if the dog has been destructive or has a potty accident, as these are ways of coping with the stress.

REMEMBER THE IDS: Identification gets pets home faster. Make sure pets are wearing collars and ID tags with up-to-date information at all times. This is a good time to make sure pets are microchipped and that the chip is registered with current information. If a pet gets lost, proper identification greatly increases the chances of a reunion.

FINAL CHECK: After the celebrations are over, check the yard for fireworks debris so pets do not ingest anything harmful.

Let’s all do our part to keep the pets safe, secure ad accounted for as we celebrate the 4th!


JULY 6:A hot dog-eating competition, live music, new beers, adoptable dogs, food, and more will benefit ARNO at the Glizzy Jamboree,noon to 6 p.m. atPort Orleans Brewing Company, 4124 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans. For more info, email

Traci D. Howerton is the volunteer manager for Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. For more information on ARNO, visit

Traci D. Howerton is the volunteer manager for Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. For more information on ARNO, visit


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Fireworks and fur babies don't mix. Here's how to keep the pets safe. (2024)
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