America's Obsession with Fireworks and Dogs: The Dangers and How to Protect Your Dog

Family Pooch - Fireworks

Fireworks are a staple of summer, from school carnivals to block parties. But these bright lights, explosive noises and flying remnants can be dangerous for dogs.

Fireworks often contain sulfur, which is toxic to dogs and cats. Ingesting small amounts, or even the smell of fireworks can result in a variety of health problems for your dog, including vomiting, diarrhea ,and lethargy. 

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends keeping dogs indoors during firework displays and not letting them roam outside unaccompanied so that they don’t find unexploded fireworks or other debris left over from the display. But if you have no choice but to leave your dog home alone during fireworks or if you find some yourself, here are some tips on how to protect your dog from fireworks this summer:

Confine your dog to a crate

In a crate, your dog will be less likely to ingest anything harmful or break anything in the house. You can give your dog treats to keep her occupied and make her feel less anxious. If you have a nervous dog, you may want to select a quiet place like a basement or an indoor room without windows or other distractions. If you have a puppy, keep him in a room with the door closed so he can’t get into trouble or eat something he shouldn’t.

Don’t feed your dog before or after fireworks

If you can’t avoid feeding your dog before or during fireworks, make sure you feed him a bland diet that won’t upset his stomach, like plain hamburger and rice, white rice and veggies, or chicken and rice. Avoid feeding your dog salty or fatty foods, which can cause vomiting. If your dog has already eaten, try to have him drink lots of water and wait several hours before letting him outside in case he vomits.

Install dark blinds or curtains and play music

The brightness, sounds and vibrations of fireworks can frighten dogs, so you can shield them from these stimuli by installing blackout blinds or curtains or putting in earplugs. If you’re worried about your dog’s stress levels, consider playing music (a radio or recorded music should be fine, but don’t use a speaker).

Provide a safe place for your dog to hide

If your dog is frightened by fireworks, provide a safe place for him to hide, like a crate, bathroom or bedroom with a door that can be closed. If you don’t want to confine your dog to crate him, try to create an environment that will make him feel safe. Turn off the lights and close the curtains, which can reduce visual stimulation. Create a safe sound environment by playing music, which can mask the loud noises of fireworks.

Bottom line

Fireworks can be dangerous to pets, especially dogs and cats. Keep your pet indoors during the fireworks, and provide a safe place for them to hide if they are scared. If your pet has eaten recently, make sure that it gets plenty of water and doesn’t eat salty or fatty foods.

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