Firework displays are a regular part of New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and 4th of July celebrations here on O’ahu. For some, it can be a fun way to celebrate, but for many pets, those explosions and bright flashes of light can be devastating.
Pets’ hearing is very sensitive, and the loud crackles and booms of fireworks can cause anxiety and panic. Signs of stress in pets to watch for include trembling, rapid hiding, excessive crying, barking or meowing, panting, shaking and attempts to escape. Some animals may even injure themselves trying to escape the noise.
As pet owners and responsible members of the community, it is important that we take these proactive steps to ensure the safety and well-being of our beloved companions, while also reducing the number of stray animals in shelters. :
- Do not bring pets to fireworks displays: Loud noises and large crowds can be overwhelming for pets. It is best to keep them in a safe environment at home during fireworks events.
- Create a safe space: Designate a quiet, safe area in your home where your pet can feel safe, such as a cozy room with a familiar bed and toys. Close windows and curtains to reduce noise and glare. If you leave your home, leave the radio or television on to provide your pet with familiar sounds. Make sure their safe place is away from high traffic areas and entry points of your home. Don’t leave your pets outside. If you can’t keep your pets indoors, consider keeping them in an enclosed garage.
- Provide exercise and enrichment: Exercise during the day to tire your pet out before the festivities begin. Provide them with some sort of enrichment to keep their minds active, such as frozen treats or treat puzzles.
- Stay calm and relaxed: Your pet looks to you for reassurance. Provide comfort by being close to them. Offering a favorite treat or engaging in a relaxing activity can help distract and reassure them.
- Use ID: Make sure your pet has proper identification, such as a collar with an ID tag and a registered microchip with your current contact information. State law requires microchips for dogs and cats. If they do manage to escape, a registered microchip will increase the chances of a quick, safe return.
- Consult a veterinarian: If your pet has a lot of anxiety during fireworks, consult your veterinarian ahead of time. They may recommend calming aids or treatments to reduce your pet’s stress.
Taking firework safety precautions in advance will reduce the chances of your pet getting lost. However, if your pet is lost, file one immediately. Report a lost pet Or call the Hawaii Humane Society at (808) 356-2250. Provide clear, current photographs of your pet, your pet’s microchip number, proof of ownership and details of where/when they were last seen. These details can help you reunite with your pet as quickly as possible.
On the other hand, if you find a lost pet, file immediately. Pets reported and take the pet to a private veterinary clinic to have the microchip scanned. If you can care for the pet yourself, the Hawaii Humane Society will work with you to reunite the pet with its owner. If you are temporarily unable to care for a pet, you can bring the pet to the Hawaiian Humane Society’s Pet Kōkua Resource Center at our Mō’ili’ili or Kosasa Family Campuses, where they can be reunited with their owners. Can be combined.
In addition to protecting your pet, it’s important to raise awareness in the community about firework pet safety. Encourage neighbors to watch their pets and keep them indoors during fireworks displays. Additionally, advocating for the use of quieter, pet-friendly alternatives or attending community-sponsored fireworks displays that follow safety guidelines can contribute to a safer environment for animals.
Fireworks can be a spectacular sight, but remember the impact on our furry friends. By taking proactive measures, being vigilant and creating safe spaces for our pets, we can ensure they feel safe during the festive season. Let’s celebrate responsibly and make the festivities enjoyable for everyone, including our beloved animal companions.
Anna Neubauer is its president and CEO. Hawaii Humane SocietyLeading a dedicated team of more than 100 staff and 900 volunteers who care for O’ahu’s animals in need. Anna has brought the Socially Conscious Animal Community Framework to Hawaii, increasing the community’s understanding of its role in animal welfare outcomes. She has also made policy changes and operational improvements that have resulted in a 70% reduction in local animal euthanasia since her arrival at Hawaii Humane in October 2019.