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Sharp Health News

Don’t let fireworks ruin your dog’s Fourth of July

July 1, 2022

Small dog hiding in doorway

While the Fourth of July is a favorite holiday for people, it’s not the most fun for our four-legged friends. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), howling, barking, panicking, running away and general anxiety are common occurrences for canines during the Fourth’s fireworks.

The loud bangs, flashes and scent caused by fireworks can be scary for dogs. Research released by The Kennel Club in the U.K. found that 80% of dog owners notice significant changes in their dog’s behavior during the region’s holidays when fireworks are launched. And there is a 100% increase in the number of dogs that go missing during the same time.

Keeping your dog safe during the fireworks
Dogs often escape from homes and yards in response to loud fireworks. Even the most docile dogs may do anything to get out, including pushing through screens or gates.

If your dog doesn’t like loud noises or if you are unsure how they will react to fireworks, your pet should be kept inside, advises Kelly Campbell, director of San Diego County Animal Services. Try to ensure they are as secure and calm as possible.

Owners are also encouraged to microchip their pet in advance. Dogs that are microchipped are much more likely to be reunited with their owners than those that are not. Be sure your dog is licensed, the information on their tag is updated, and that you have current photos of your pet for a faster and easier reunion.

Animal experts recommend these tips to keep dogs safe on the Fourth of July:

  • Stay home with your dog. If you can’t be there, have someone else stay with them. At minimum, leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep your pet company.
  • Don’t take your dog to events that have fireworks.
  • Remove dangerous objects around your home that your dog may chew if frightened.
  • Never leave your dog unattended outside on the Fourth, even in a fenced yard.
  • If your dog is distressed by other loud noises, such as thunder, talk with your veterinarian about whether anxiety-relieving medication is appropriate.
  • Don’t leave your dog in the car. Both the trauma from the fireworks and the summer heat can lead to serious health effects.
  • Always be sure your dog is secured on a leash when walking — especially on the Fourth of July and within earshot of fireworks.

If your dog gets out, check the San Diego County Animal Service’s online lost-and-found. And remember, along with being traumatizing for dogs — and dangerous for people — all consumer fireworks are illegal in San Diego County, including sparklers, firecrackers, cherry bombs, bottle rockets and poppers.

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