SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS (June 24, 2020)  Everyone loves to celebrate the Independence Day holiday, with exciting fireworks that explode with loud noises and bright flashes of colorful embers in the sky. However, many companion animals and livestock see this day and night as one filled with confusion and terror.

The Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association (ISVMA) encourages everyone to consider moving pets that are sensitive to loud noises to a quiet and secure area, far away from the fanfare that fireworks and party revelers enjoy during the celebration.

“If you have a cat, dog, or other companion animal or livestock easily-frightened or spooked by fireworks, you need to think about their own mental and physical safety,” says Dr Olivia Rudolphi, ISVMA President. “It’s easy to get caught up in the coordination of festivities with family and friends during the holiday, but it’s just as important to include a plan for your pets and livestock when celebrations become troublesome for them.”

So how can you be proactive and safely prepare your companion animals and livestock for a raucous holiday? Dr Rudolphi suggests the following:

  • Never ignite fireworks near any animal, including sparklers, fire-crackers, and smoke bombs. Keep pets indoors in a recognizable environment. Consider staying at home to help them relax.
  • Introduce your pets to calming music in a quiet room that can help mask noises from parties and fireworks displays. Have their kennel or bed nearby for comfort. Shut windows and close curtains. Also consider a compression or “thunder” shirt for a dog to help keep them calm.
  • Consider talking with your veterinarian about medication that may help soothe an easily distraught animal during a stressful holiday celebration. You may wish to try this medication in advance to ensure the pet reacts favorably to it.
  • Never punish pets if they are scared. This will only add to their anxiety.
  • Keep horses and farm animals away from fireworks and keep gates and fences securely locked and maintained well in advance of the display.

Dr Rudolphi says there are also other dangers for animals during the upcoming holiday, including:

  • Runaways Dogs and cats, even outdoor animals such as horses, can be spooked by the noise, flashing lights and unpredictability of firework explosions. They may escape from backyards and pastures, through open doors and jump or crash into weakened fences and unsecured gates. For companion animals, microchip them, make sure their ID tags are on their collars, and take photos to help you recover and claim them when found if they do escape.
  • Firework debris Dogs will eat just about anything including remnants of firework explosions that fall into your yard. Most of this debris carries heavy metals and gunpowder dust, elements that are not digestible. This concern also pertains to pasture and penned animals.
  • Poisonous food and dangerous food-related items If you’re having a typical cookout, there are human foods that can be poisonous to pets, including chocolate for dogs. Make sure you, your family, and friends don’t share picnic table scraps with them. And items to grill food, such as wooden and metal grilling-skewers, can also injure pets.
  • Heat exhaustion Pets exposed to hot outdoor weather conditions (“hotter than the Fourth of July”) without proper shade and water are at high risk of dehydration and heat stress. If traveling over the holiday, do not leave pets in hot vehicles; make sure they always have proper ventilation and fresh water.

“Just as you would consider all options for your human family for a safe and happy holiday celebration, make sure you consider the needs of your family’s pets and livestock, as well,” Dr Rudolphi says. She also encourages you to ask your veterinarian any questions you may have about the animals in your life and to ensure they, too, get through this holiday as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

ABOUT ISVMA

Illinois veterinarians’ profession is the health and welfare of companion pets and livestock in the 102 counties in the state. The ISVMA is a professional association representing more than 2,500 member veterinarians, veterinary and technician students, and Certified Veterinary Technicians from around the state to promote and protect veterinary practices. ISVMA leaders and members study a multitude of cutting-edge medical and business practices, as well as pertinent legislation to determine their impact on pets, animals, and their human caretakers.

Support the River Cities' Reader

The QCA’s Only Free Press Can Really Use Your Support

 

"We're the River Cities' Reader, and we've kept the Quad Cities' only independently owned newspaper alive and free since 1993. Now we find our ability to continue providing all the features you love in serious jeopardy without the financial support of our readers.

So please help the Reader keep going with your one-time, monthly, or annual support. With your financial support the Reader can continue providing uncensored, non-scripted, and independent journalism alongside the Quad Cities' area's most comprehensive cultural coverage." - Todd McGreevy, Publisher