Pet experts share tips to keep animals safe during Fourth of July fireworks in the Milwaukee area (2024)

Pet experts share tips to keep animals safe during Fourth of July fireworks in the Milwaukee area (1)

While Milwaukee's traditional lakefront fireworks may be canceled this year, there are still plenty of shows planned across Wisconsin. But with noisy fireworks comes terrified pets, some of which can end up missing.

"A lack of preparation or awareness of just how far a dog will go when they are afraid is often the cause for lost pets," said Veronica Rodriguez, general manager of pet resort PetSuites in Brookfield.

Rodriguez has been working with animals for five years, earning her degree in animal behavior in 2019. With the help of her manager, Sara Seib, Rodriguez told Public Investigator how pet owners can prepare for the Fourth of July.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Pet experts share tips to keep animals safe during Fourth of July fireworks in the Milwaukee area (2)

What do some petowners forget to consider during the Fourth of July?

It is very easy to forget about fireworks, which often only happen once per year. Because of this, many pet parents forget toplan ahead to make sure their homes are secure, and their pet feels safe.

Other pet parents may have only adopted their new furry friend recently and are unaware of their fear of fireworks until the day is upon them.

Why do pets react negatively to loud noises, like fireworks?

Loud noises can be very startling for many animals. Their ears are more sensitive than ours. There is also a lack of understanding of what the noise is and where it is coming from, which initiates a flight, fight, or freeze response.

It is instinctual for animals to want to find a place of comfort where they feel secure and safe when there are noises that they cannot identify or locate.

What are some ways to help pets remain calm?

To keep your pet comfortable and feeling safe, we recommend trying some calming treats. This not only can help them feel relaxed, but in some cases may make them sleepy, as well, and have them snoozing right through the night. We highly recommend testing any treats before the actual day, as every pet reacts differently.

If you know your pet is especially anxious, speak with your vet about obtaining medication for the day, such as Trazodone. Always consult your vet before trying any new medications or supplements.

White noise machines can also be a useful tool to help drown out the outside noise of the world.

Securing your pets in a space that they are familiar with can also be very useful. Often, dogs want more intimate spaces where they feel protected from all sides when they are afraid. This is why you will often see them going underneath tables, couches, or to tight corners when they are startled.

Making sure they have a space that is safe for them to hide in can bring tremendous comfort. Even covering their own crate at home with a thick blackout blanket can bring great relief.

Thunder shirts can also be a useful tool. This is a tight-fitting, heavy shirt or sweaterthat makes them feel secure. A last resort would be to take them to a secure location that will not have any fireworks nearby.

My pet is still anxious. What else can I do?

If you’ve done everything above and they are still very fearful, the best course of action would be to stay home withthem orbring them to a pet boarding facility, and we can keep a close eye on them.

Leaving them at home alone can cause more anxiety, and dogs have been known to rip open crates or even jump through windows if their anxiety becomes too overwhelming. Once fireworks have begun and pets are in that fear state, it can be extremely risky to try moving them to a new location, as you risk them getting loose, escaping orpanicking further.

What should a Milwaukee-area pet owner do if their pet does go missing during the Fourthof July weekend?

Contact local shelters, vet offices and rescues in the area to see if they have had any sightings or have picked up any strays.

Making sure your pet is microchipped and is wearing a collar with your contact information is very useful for anyone who may pick up your pet.

Billy’s Posse is a local search and rescue company that specifically works to find lost pets. There are also manyneighborhoodwatch groups on Facebook that you can post lost pets on. The appsNextdoorand Ring also allow neighborhood groups to post camera footage. This is a great resource to upload any video of loose dogs that fellow neighbors can access.

Aside from loud noises, are there other hazards to be aware of?

Many people enjoy hosting outdoor events for the Fourth of July. We always like to remind pet parents to make sure their pets are not getting into anything that is harmful for them, such as grapes, alcohol, chocolate, corn on the cob, or yeast and dough.

If you have a pet that is a chewer, this can increase when they are nervous or overwhelmed. Make sure anything they may enjoy chewing is stored in a safe location that your pet cannot access.

If your pet is sensitive to changing environments, keeping them indoors in a well-ventilated area can ensure they do not have an adverse reaction to the firework smokethat may be in the air.

Quinn Clark is a Public Investigator reporter. She can be emailed Follow her on Twitter at@Quinn_A_Clark.

Pet experts share tips to keep animals safe during Fourth of July fireworks in the Milwaukee area (2024)
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