Pets and fireworks do not always mix

Published 4:49 pm Thursday, June 30, 2022

While fireworks, picnics and other Fourth of July traditions can be great fun for people, emergency management officials say many of the festivities and can be frightening and even dangerous for animals.

Lexington Emergency Management says noisy fireworks and other celebrations can startle animals and cause them to run away; summer heat and travel can be dangerous; and potentially dangerous debris can end up lying on the ground where pets can eat or play with it. So, whether or not you’re planning your own Independence Day celebration, it’s important to take precautions to keep your pets safe.

Ahead of time

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• Make sure your pets have identification tags with up-to-date information. 

• If your pets aren’t already microchipped, talk with your veterinarian about microchipping. This can greatly improve your chances of getting your pets back if they become lost. Also ensure the contact information in the microchip registry is current.

• Take a current photo of all your pets. A “selfie” showing you and your pet together is better.

• If your pet has historically been anxious on this holiday, or if you have reason to expect potentially harmful reactions, consult your veterinarian, as some may need medication.

• Make sure the environment is safe and secure. If your neighbors set off fireworks at an unexpected time, is your yard secure enough to keep your pets contained?  Make improvements if needed.

During 4th of July activities

• Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and keep them inside if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks.

• If you’re hosting guests, ask them to help keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t escape.  Placing notes on exit doors and gates can help both you and your guests remain vigilant.

• Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewers away from curious pets, and don’t let them get near your barbecue grill while it is in use or still hot.

• Too much sun, heat and humidity can be dangerous to pets. Keep them inside; make sure they have access to shady spots and plenty of water when outdoors; don’t leave them outside for extended periods in hot weather; and know the signs that a pet may be overheating.

• If you’re travelling out of town, consider leaving them at home with a pet sitter or boarding them in a kennel.  If you need to bring them with you, be sure you know how to keep them safe.

After the celebration

• Check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing pets outside to play or relax. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, debris can make its way into your yard, where curious animals may pick it up to play with or eat.

• If you hosted guests, check both your yard and home for food scraps or other debris that might be dangerous to pets, such as food skewers.