Fireworks Not Enjoyed by All

Linda Lyon

Celebrating our nation’s Independence Day is great fun for most of us, but not usually for our four-legged friends. In fact, more pets get lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year. This results in a surge in our shelters, or worse yet, animals running loose and perhaps killed in traffic.

Did you know that human ears can be damaged at 85 decibels? Fireworks measure at least twice that, and dogs’ ears are much more sensitive than ours. That no doubt is why, according to Best Friends Animal Society, “Dogs have been known to dig under or jump over fences, break tethers, or even shatter windows in response to their fireworks fears.”

The good news is there are many actions you can take to ensure your pet remains safe and calmer this holiday. First of all, don’t allow them near the fireworks. Keep them inside (with all doors and windows securely closed) while fireworks are going off so they can’t run away. You might even want to put your pets in a crate or behind a closed inner door so they can’t dash outside when frightened. You can also wrap your pet in a “ThunderShirt” to help keep them calm. Music or the television can also help drown out the noise from the fireworks.

Perhaps surprisingly, “coddling” your frightened pet is not the right response as it will just reinforce their fear. Instead, try playing games or exercising to distract them. You can also provide them with some long-lasting chews and treats. Both cats and dogs also enjoy smelling species-specific pheromones. Of course, it is always good for you to just be present with them. As a last resort, you might want to talk to your vet about medication to help keep them calm.

In the event pets do get away from you, please ensure your pet has an ID tag and is microchipped. It is also a really good idea to have a current photo of your pet handy.

Fireworks aren’t the only risk that may be experienced by your pet on the 4th of July weekend. These range from unhealthy foods at parties, to high summer temperatures, to dangerous debris on the ground following fireworks displays. Being aware is the key.

Unfortunately, not every pet parent will be sufficiently aware, so shelters may be more crowded after 4th of July celebrations. You may not be in a position to adopt an animal or serve as a foster, but you can go to to learn more, join our email list for an occasional informative email, or even make a contribution.

Our Pinal County shelter is not sufficiently funded to care for all the animals that come their way. They need our help to save lives, provide humane treatment, and find new forever homes for them. Please step up for those without a voice. Because … they are counting on us!