Fireworks can mean big dangers for pets

Fireworks are all fun and games — unless you have four legs and fur.

Fireworks are all fun and games — unless you have four legs and fur.

Traditional Fourth of July celebrations trigger stress in many family pets, resulting in the greatest influx of lost and runaway pets of the year, according to King County Animal Care and Control.

People are not the only victims of firework burns. Animal control reports that curious dogs will sometimes grab or chase fireworks only to have them explode at close range, causing injuries more serious than just a scorched fur coat.

Burns and other fireworks-related injuries are just the beginning of a family pet’s worries. The loud noise and bright flashes produced during Fourth of July celebrations frighten animals who are left alone.

Unaware of their furry friend’s fear of explosions, owners often leave their animals outside. Distressed pets have a tendency to “lose their senses” and act out of character, according to animal control officers. Unusual behavior may include chewing through leashes, digging under fences and escaping backyard enclosures.

Attempting to run from firework noise, pets often lose their sense of direction, run into traffic or end up disoriented and lost.

King County Animal Control recommends several steps pet owners may take to make their pets more comfortable on the Fourth of July:

• Keep pets indoors.

• Draw windows and blinds.

• Play the radio or television to distract from the fireworks.

• Make sure your pet’s registration is current in case they escape.

• If your pet is sensitive to noise, talk to your doctor about using a mild sedative to keep them calm.