Pets and Fireworks Don't Mix
The 4th of July can be a very dangerous time for animals because of fireworks and loud noises. We humans enjoy the celebrations, but loud noises and flashes of light can terrify pets, horses and other animals. Often these unfamiliar sounds and sights can cause an animal to run away, hide or act in - atypical ways that might separate them from their owners or put the animal or others in a dangerous situation.
During the time immediately before and after July 4th, Clackamas County Dog Services responds to increased calls of lost pets, bites and injured pets. Help keep your pets and other animals safe on the 4th of July and all summer by following the tips below.
- Secure pets and other animals in a quiet place where they will feel safe. Sometimes placing them in a room, their crate or a garage with a radio playing helps them feel safe and reduces their stress.
- Use caution with open flames and fireworks. Curiosity may cause a pet to be burned or to chase fireworks and become injured.
- Remember, pets do not understand holiday festivities-- they just see and hear the unfamiliar sounds and sights and can become very frightened.
- Never light fireworks near barns or fields, as it is an extreme fire hazard. Horses can be especially frightened by fireworks, causing them to run through fences and become lost or injured. They can also injure people when they are startled by the lights and noise.
- Keep dogs securely leashed if you take them outside the home and be sure their collar fits snugly so they are not able to slip away from you.
- Use caution when your pet is in or around crowds or people the pet doesn’t know. All of the excitement may cause your pet to react in ways you are not accustomed to seeing.
- Remember, dogs get very excited during horseplay in and out of the water and have a tendency to bite when excited.
- Use caution when picnicking and barbecuing -- small children can be bitten while walking around with food in their hands.
- Protect your dog and keep your dog at a distance from other dogs that may be loose. Many bites occur while animal owners are trying to break up a dog fight.
- If it is hot, give your pet lots of water – indoors or out. Pets can become dehydrated, the same as people.
- Never leave pets locked in cars – the hot summer sun can raise temperatures to 120 degrees inside your car, even with windows rolled down. It only takes 10 minutes to disaster.
- Prevent sunburns – keep four-legged friends out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., peak skin damaging hours. Otherwise rub sun block on unprotected areas such as skin around lips and tips of noses and ears, especially on fair-colored pets.
- Provide plenty of shelter – animals should not be left alone outside on hot days, even in the shade. Shade moves throughout the day so pets need to be kept under a cool shelter or inside during peak sun hours when possible.
- Watch out for heatstroke – symptoms of pet heatstroke include heavy panting, staring, high fever, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, collapse and disobedience, among others. If heatstroke is suspected, call a veterinarian immediately and apply water-soaked towels to hairless areas of the animal’s body to lower its temperature.
- Be mindful of overexertion – exercise is important to maintain a healthy weight, but too much exertion may cause overheating. Keep walks early in the morning or late in the evening and at a relaxed pace.
- If you go hiking, pack supplies for pets as you would for yourself on long hikes – bring extra food and water for pets as well as an emergency first aid kit.
- Keep cats and dogs on leashes – prevent your animals from getting lost, in fights or consuming things that could cause sickness. When roaming freely, animals are particularly prone to drink from puddles that may contain antifreeze or other toxic chemicals.
If during the festivities, your pet should run away, hide or be missing, begin searching for your pet immediately.
The entire staff at Clackamas County Dog Services wishes you, your family and your loving pet a safe and enjoyable July 4.