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Keep pets safe during holiday fireworks, officials say

Loud bangs from fireworks can frighten pets, and residents should take steps to prevent them from running away, officials say.

Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy and Police Chief Miguel

Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy and Police Chief Miguel Bermudez pet Aja and Jake as village officials issue a pet safety warning ahead of the July Fourth holiday on Tuesday in Freeport. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

As Long Islanders gear up to watch the sky light up on Independence Day, officials are urging them to protect their furry friends.

The booms and bangs of fireworks can easily distress pets, which are significantly more sensitive than humans to fireworks noise, officials said. Nationwide, more pets run away around the Fourth of July holiday than at any other time of the year, Freeport Village officials said in a statement Tuesday.

Pet owners can consider asking veterinarians for a prescription of sedatives to help alleviate their animals’ stress, said Gary Rogers, a spokesman for the Nassau Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“A lot of animals get stressed out from the fireworks, so you should really keep pets indoors in an air-conditioned or cool room,” Rogers said.

Minimizing pets’ exposure to thunderous booms isn’t the only precaution Long Islanders should take during Wednesday’s celebrations, officials said. They also warned that changes to pets’ dietary regimen could give them severe indigestion and other issues.

“We may overindulge in a barbecue, but the scraps fed to a dog may create gastrointestinal problems,” Roy Gross, chief of the Suffolk County SPCA, said in a statement.

Fourth of July pet tips

  • Keep animals indoors or in a gated area outdoors during fireworks and other loud events.
  • Close windows and turn on music or a television to drown out the sound of fireworks.
  • Distract pets with toys and treats.
  • Consult a veterinarian for prescriptions to alleviate pets' stress.
  • Watch for signs of discomfort such as trembling, shaking, seeking comfort from humans, urination and salivation.
  • Keep pets on a regular diet and ask guests not to give them table food.
  • Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets.
  • Keep them away from onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt and yeast dough — all can be potentially toxic for pets.
  • Don’t leave pets in cars when making grocery store runs.

Sources: Village of Freeport, Suffolk County SPCA, Nassau County SPCA

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