Protecting Your Pets From Fireworks

As COVID-19 has changed every aspect of our lives, Fourth of July celebrations are also going to look different this year. And that could mean extra stress for your pets. With large, organized firework displays cancelled, more families may be celebrating at home with retail fireworks. This could mean loud noises at random times throughout the weekend, causing your pet to panic.

Tanya Roberts, OHS Training & Behavior Manager, cautions pet owners to be extra vigilant this year. “Assume there could be a loud, starting noise anytime you are outside with your pet,” she says. “Be prepared and have dogs securely leashed at all times and keep cats indoors.”

On July 5, animal shelters across the country will face the daunting task of caring for the many lost dogs and cats who bolted from their homes because they were terrified of fireworks.

The Oregon Humane Society urges all pet owners to keep their pets indoors, in a safe and secure area.

Here are some additional suggestions to keep pets safe:

  • When walking your dog, make sure their collar and harness are extra snug and secure. Using two leashes, one clipped to the harness and one to the collar, can help keep hold of your dog if they panic.
  • Dogs and cats who are distressed should be placed inside a room with closed windows and a secure door. A screen door will not stop a frightened dog or cat. Turn on fans, music or other noise.
  • Make sure all pets, even indoor-only cats, wear a collar with an identification tag that includes your name and telephone number. An identification microchip is even better, as it is embedded in your pet and cannot be lost. These simple precautions will go a long way towards ensuring a rapid reunion with a lost pet.
  • At home, a ThunderShirt, flower essences, pheromones or gentle touch can also help ease a pet’s anxiety.
  • Talk to your veterinarian as soon as possible if your dog or cat needs medication to help them cope with the panic brought on by the noise. Most vet clinics are very busy during the week leading up to the Fourth.

More ideas from the Oregon Humane Society Training and Behavior Department can be found here:

https://www.oregonhumane.org/wp-content/uploads/5.25.17_Fear_of_Thunder_Noises-1.pdf

If your pet becomes lost during the holiday:

Check with your local animal control agency. Many agencies have lost-and-found listings on their website (OHS cannot accept stray animals).

  • Post on Nextdoor, Craigslist, and other lost pet websites.
  • Put up flyers with a photo and description of the missing pet.
  • Search your neighborhood and your own property thoroughly. Lost cats, for example, are often found hiding under a bush in front of their owner’s home.
  • More resources regarding Fourth of July pet safety, plus help for reuniting lost and found dogs with their owners, can be found on the OHS website at: oregonhumane.org/fourth-of-july-pet-safety-resources.

If you find a stray animal, please keep them with you until your local animal shelter is open and ready to receive them. Below is contact information for shelters in the Portland metro and Southwest Washington areas:

Clackamas County Dog Services

13141 SE Highway 212

Clackamas, OR

503-655-8628

www.clackamas.us/dogs

Humane Society for Southwest Washington

1100 NE 192nd Ave. Vancouver, WA

360-693-4746

www.southwesthumane.org

Multnomah County Animal Services

1700 W. Historic Columbia River Highway, Troutdale, OR

503-988-7387

www.multcopets.org

Bonnie L. Hays Small Animal Shelter/Washington County Animal Services

1901 SE 24th Avenue, Hillsboro, OR

503-846-7041

https://www.co.washington.or.us/HHS/AnimalServices/AnimalShelter/LostandFound/index.cfm

Clark County Animal Protection and Control

1300 Franklin Street, Vancouver, WA

360-397-2488

www.clark.wa.gov/community-development/animals-and-pets

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