ARIZONA NEWS

Safety tips pet owners can use to keep their dogs calm during fireworks on New Year’s Day

Dec 31, 2023, 5:00 AM

How to keep dogs calm during fireworks on New Year's Day...

(Photo by Wendell Escoto / AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by Wendell Escoto / AFP via Getty Images)

PHOENIX – It’s not easy to keep dogs calm during fireworks meant to celebrate the new year. The loud booming, banging and whistling noises they make can set pets into a frenzy.

And when pets are afraid, they tend to bolt, according to Arizona Humane Society Spokesperson Kelsey Dickerson.

“Only second to the Fourth of July, New Year’s is actually one of the most dangerous times for our pets,” Dickerson told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “They do tend to go missing and run away at this time.”

Even pets that are normally docile can tear off into the streets in a misguided attempt to escape the fireworks, she added.

“If they do happen to get out, there are a lot of resources to hopefully get them back to their forever home,” Dickerson said.

One of those resources is Maricopa County’s Lost Pet Map, which keeps track of unidentified stray pets.

Rescue organizations like AHS can post lost pets on the map, which is interactive. Dog owners looking for their missing pets can also use the “Report a Pet” button. This way, anyone who discovers the missing pet can reach out to the owners.

Those with lost animals should also spread the word on Facebook groups and the NextDoor app and check with local shelters and veterinary clinics, Dickerson said.

New Year’s Day 2024 safety tips for pets

To keep your pet safe during the holiday, microchip your dogs, Dickerson said.

“It’s estimated that one in three pets will go missing in their lifetime and a microchip is the No. 1 way to make sure they come home,” she said. 

However, pet owners who haven’t done this already may not be able to squeeze in an appointment during the hectic holiday season. In that case, just take a sharpie and write your contact information on the inside of your dog’s collar, Dickerson said.

This way, anyone who finds your dog will be able to find you, too, she added.

Updated contact information on a dog’s tags is also critical. “So many times we’ll have a pet that comes in and the number is dead or we don’t get an answer from the family,” Dickerson said.

How to keep dogs calm during fireworks

Make sure your dog has a safe space with plenty of food, water, toys and treats, she said.

“Playing the TV or radio to drown out those loud noises will also be able to help,” Dickerson said.

Medication may also be a good option for dogs showing signs of severe stress, she added.

Dickerson also advises pet owners to be attentive during bathroom breaks. Keep spooked pets on short leashes to ensure they don’t try to jump over the fence, she said.

“There’s also something called a thunder shirt, which is a compression shirt for animals that kind of gives them a nice little hug, helps them stay comfy and feel safe,” she said. “If you ever lose your pet, visit AZHumane.org/lostpet. We have a lot of different resources to help get them back home.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Colton Krolak contributed to this report.

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Safety tips pet owners can use to keep their dogs calm during fireworks on New Year’s Day