Fireworks are awesome to watch and fun to set off. They can also be harmful to loved ones, and animals. When planning a Fourth of July celebration, don't forget those furry family members.
Pet safety is one issue that most people overlook, yet statistics show that July 5 is one of the busiest days of the year for local veterinarians and animal shelters.
While the snaps, crackles and booms may thrill, they are more likely to scare pets.
Dogs and cats have sensitive ears and the loud noises can panic even the most trustworthy pet into fleeing the area. They can wind up lost or injured, often getting hit by traffic as they try to avoid the celebration.
The Clay County Humane Society has issued some tips to avoid an accident with your pet, and ensure that they survive the holiday safely, including:
* Keep pets inside. Even in a fenced yard, they are exposed to the crashing and flashing of fireworks. The chaos may cause them to panic and try to escape,
* Don't leave pets in vehicles. The heat may cause heat stroke, brain damage or death,
* Keep pets away from firecrackers, and dispose of all used fireworks in a container pets can't open. Pets have been known to eat leftover fireworks and become ill, and,
* Make sure pets have proper identification. If a pet does escape, an ID tag can bring it home again.
"We microchip all our animals," Clay County Humane Society shelter director Matt Moss said. "It's the most reliable form of identification available. If anyone would like to get their pet microchipped, we do that here at the shelter, and the cost is $25."
Take precautions to avoid actions that could make pets victims during the holiday. Tying fireworks to animals or aiming them at animals happens often, unfortunately. If the animal isn't burned or deaf, they can turn on loved ones because of the trauma inflicted.
"If the worst happens and your pet is missing, you can always check at the shelter," Moss said.