Photo by Aobranc (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Aobranc (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Scary Fourth of July fireworks could turn your cute, lovable pooch into a biting, terrified lost dog, officials warned Friday.

“Fireworks are no picnic for pets,” according to the Los Angeles city Department of Animal Services.

Other local animal protection agencies echoed the city’s warning.

“Our pet community is typically frightened by the sounds of this holiday, and that is perfectly understandable,” said Marcia Mayeda, director of Los Angeles County’s Department of Animal Care and Control. “They react to the sounds and bright flashes of fireworks, which may trigger the fight or flight instinct.”

She said the “fight instinct could cause a friendly pet to bite out of fear and the flight instinct would cause them to run from the noise and excitement.”

Dogs may run on busy streets, but cats may “find a dark place to hide at home until the festivities subside.”

According to the city’s animal services department, many frightened pets running in panic will end up in animal shelters or may even be injured by fireworks.

The Los Angeles SPCA had some advice for worried pet owners who can’t find their animals: If you’ve lost your pet, go to the nearest animal shelter with any proof of ownership and information about your animal.

The organizations all urged pet owners to take precautions to protect their furry loved ones.

— Do not take your pet to Fourth of July events that feature fireworks. If you are going out of town for the weekend and cannot bring your pet with you, leave it with someone responsible who will take all the appropriate precautions.

— Keep your pet away from alcohol or other things humans like but that can be dangerous for animals.

— Make sure dogs and cats have current I.D. tags on their collars and are microchipped.

— Train dogs to come when called.

— Keep your pet in a cool, comfortable place, preferably in your own home. Leave a few toys, water and food, and play some soothing music or white noise.

— Keep your pets away from food or beverages that could be toxic to animals. Don’t let them near deadly substances such as lighter fluids, matches and insect repellant.  Educate children who will be with the pets never to use fireworks or sparklers near the animals.

— Do not tie your dog up outside. Dogs can become startled by fireworks or any loud noises and attempt to escape, potentially causing injury.

— Use sunscreen intended for use on animals to provide sun protection for your pet.

— City News Service

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