FOURTH OF JULY, OUTDOOR FESTIVALS: No Picnic for Pets

June 29, 2022
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

The days immediately following July 4 can result in increased numbers of stray animals admitted to animal control facilities and humane societies, and often the explosive sound of fireworks is to blame. Fireworks cause many pets to panic, resulting in extreme and sometimes dangerous escape measures from homes or yards. Without identification, it is nearly impossible to reunite pet with owner.  Please keep the following tips in mind this holiday:

* ENSURE ALL ANIMALS ARE WEARING CURRENT IDENTIFICATION! Even if the animal has microchip identification, place a collar with an ID tag on your pet. If a neighbor finds your animal, an ID collar that includes your phone number can lead to a faster reunion.

* DON’T TAKE ANIMALS TO FIREWORKS DISPLAYS. The sounds and sights of fireworks often have the ability to turn the most calm, quiet, and non-aggressive pet into a stressed, frightened animal. A startled animal may not only break free and run away, but may also bite. If you bring your dog to these events and realize it’s becoming too overwhelming for him or her, DO NOT KEEP YOUR DOG IN YOUR CAR FOR ANY AMOUNT OF TIME! The effects of heatstroke on even slightly warm days begin within mere minutes. and the results could be fatal.  Stressed animals confined to cars can not only die or suffer severe brain damage, but can also experience an overwhelming stress level that can cause physical harm to the pet, and/or damage to the vehicle’s interior. Home is the safest place for pets this holiday.

* HAVE SOMEONE HOME WITH NERVOUS PETS DURING FIREWORKS. If the animal is with someone he or she knows, the pet’s stress level will be greatly reduced. Keep the volume on a television or radio turned up to block some of the noise. ThunderShirts®  reportedly work to calm the anxiety felt by some dogs and cats when they can hear fireworks, thunder, even when they experience separation anxiety, and can be found in many local pet supply shops and online. Other anti-anxiety items are carried here in the SPCA’s Petique: (716) 875-7360, ext. 237.

New! * NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES FOR HOUNDS. This tip comes from the SPCA’s own Annual Giving Manager, Phil. He and his wife, Samantha, have a beautiful dog, Daenerys, who is very afraid of fireworks. Phil says, “We’ve tried everything to keep her calm, from vests to CBD, and nothing seems to work.” Phil and Samantha ordered custom-made noise-cancelling headphones especially for dogs. The headphones, which must be ordered in advance based on each dog’s specific measurements, contain Bluetooth technology which allows owners to stream their dogs’ most calming musical selections (decibal reduction for the dogs provide a “whisper volume”) directly into their ears. Here, Daenerys is pictured sporting her new headphones, which arrived only days before July 4. We’ll keep you posted on Daenerys’ review of this new calming approach! A simple online search will direct pet owners to the various companies offering these headphones.

If a pet manages to escape, community members can visit the SPCA’s Lost & Found/Stray Animals page at YourSPCA.org, which includes effective ways to find a lost pet. A link to local animal control facilities can also be found on that page.


 Home is also the safest place for pets on extremely hot days, during arts festivals, food festivals, and other crowded outdoor events.  Very hot weather paired with immense crowds of people and loud, strange noises heighten the stress level for many animals.  Your pet’s body is closer to the asphalt and can heat up quickly. The hot pavement can also burn unprotected, sensitive paw pads

See the SPCA’s additional, important reminders for keeping pets safe in the summer heat here >>

If you witness animal cruelty or see any animal in need of rescue or emergency assistance this summer, the SPCA Serving Erie County may be able to help. Please call the SPCA Monday through Sunday,
8 a.m. – 6:45 p.m., at (716) 875-7360, ext. 214.

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