Fourth of July weekend is one of the busiest times of the year for Animal Shelters and animal hospitals across the country. Fireworks cause severe stress and fear in animals, which can result in domestic animals running loose from the home. Given the increase in fireworks expected over the Independence Day holiday weekend, the Town of Smithtown has compiled a list of tips and information that can help you protect your pets during this time of year.
If your pet tends to be scared or hides during thunderstorms, it is likely fireworks also terrify them. Dogs with hypersensitive hearing or muscle injuries/inflammation can also feel pain due to fireworks. When animals are scared or in pain, they seek safe shelter away from the source. There are a number of things you can do to alleviate the stress of fireworks.
- Plan to keep your pets indoors away from windows when fireworks are going off. Do not bring your dog out to watch the colorful display in the sky. Do not leave dogs tethered to leashes outdoors.
- Create hiding spaces for cats and dogs a few days prior to festivities.
- Check your dog's harness or collar, which should be tightly fastened and equipped with identification tags. In the event your dog gets out of the home, identification tags will make it easier to reach you, if the dog is found.
- If your pet needs anti-anxiety medications to cope, be sure to work with your Vet to ensure you have an ample supply for the duration of the long weekend. Contact your veterinarian well ahead of the holiday.
- If your pets have been microchipped, take time before the holiday weekend to check that the chip is active and all information is current. Contact your vet if you cannot find your pet's microchip information.
- Check for holes underneath yard fencing which a dog or cat can use to escape from the noise. Secure your windows and doors. Additionally, you can close window curtains and use household items like fans, air-conditioning units, televisions, and radios to assist in drowning out the sounds.
- Always contact your Vet for advice or recommendations prior to trying calming aids or products.
- Prior to the evening hours, if the weather permits, try to get your dog out for some rigorous exercise which will tire them out and lower stress levels.
New York State Law:
- Fireworks, with the exception of “sparkling devices” are illegal in the State of New York.
- New York State Law allows for the sale and use of a specific category of consumer fireworks known as Sparkling Devices. (Ground based or handheld devices that produce a shower of colored sparks and or a colored flame, audible crackling or whistling noise and smoke.)
- The sale of illegal fireworks (roman candles, bottle rockets, mines, pyrotechnics, etc.) is a Class “B” misdemeanor. Possession of these illegal fireworks is a violation.
For more information regarding Fireworks and NYS law visit: http://www.dhses.ny.gov/ofpc/news/sparklingdevices.cfm