Even small fireworks can be rough on dogs, animal experts warn

Published Jun 21, 2018 at 4:00pm

The window in which Oneida County residents are allowed to purchase and set off small fireworks is currently in effect — and while sparklers and firecrackers are fun for many, they can be anything but enjoyable for pets, particularly dogs.

“More pets run away on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year,” warned Helene Rudiak, manager of the Rome Humane Society.

“Dogs are all about senses,” she said, and the smell of gunpowder, the sound of explosions and the bright lights can be terrifying and even painful to area pooches.

“It hurts their nose, their ears, their eyes, it’s really overwhelming to them,” Rudiak said.

The Rome Humane Society and the Phantom Fireworks Companies have some tips and advice for how to protect your dogs during fireworks season, which ends on July 5.

Advice:

• Keep your pets indoors during fireworks displays.

• Turn on the TV, the radio or the air conditioner to help mask the noise of fireworks.

• Create safe spaces for animals inside your home. It could be a dark room with light music playing, like a basement.

• Or you can make an area the animal can “burrow” into to feel safe, like a blanket or pillow fort.

• Feeding the dog in that area will help them associate the spot with other good feelings.

• Remain calm yourself during fireworks. “They feed off you,” Rudiak said, and if you are calm, it will be easier for the dog to be calm.

• Walk or exercise the pet prior to the fireworks in an effort to tire them out, so perhaps they will sleep through the display.

• Close all windows and doors to block any escape attempts. Make sure your dog is leashed with proper ID in case they do run away.

• Buy an anxiety wrap for your dog to wear to feel safer and more secure.