News & Politics

Are Your Pets Safe on The Fourth of July?


Fido and his furry friends don’t like fireworks. Turns out, most pets find the flaming, colorful noisemakers completely terrifying.

We had heard that animals didn’t seem to like all of the ruckus of fourth of July celebrations, but it turns out that city pets risk injury — so much so that the phenomenon has been given a special name: high-rise syndrome.

Most commonly displayed in cats, high-rise syndrome is when unattended animals are left in front of an open window. They are either distracted by outdoor sights (birds, fireworks, etc.), or a loud noise startles them causing them to jump out of the window.

“Most pets when they are brought inside apartments do not walk up the steps into the building, which means that they have no perception of how high up they really are. If there is an open window cats will often misjudge the height and just jump out,” Gail Buchwald, senior vice president of the adoption center at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told the Voice.

Pets fare even worse when brought outdoors for the celebration, as large crowds, noise, and sporadic activity can cause anxiety. Buchwald says that most pet owners have a hard time reading signs of distress in their animals because they’re distracted by celebratory activities. Clear signs your pet is not okay include heavy breathing and excessive drooling.

And while there are no hard statistics on the number of animals that go missing in the city each year on the fourth, it is typically thought of as the day the highest number of animals are lost.

“We’ve never had a fourth of July where someone wasn’t calling in distress because their pet had gone missing,” said Buchwald.

So what are some tips on how to enjoy your day of independence and keep your pets happy?

Leave them at home

It’s safest for your animals if you leave
them out of any outdoor celebrations. Make sure to leave them plenty of food and water, and to keep your home well-ventilated. This will create a calming atmosphere in your absence.

Get a window screen

If you plan to stay at home to watch the
fireworks, make sure you have a screen to protect your pet from jumping through the window when they hear a loud noise.

Stay on the lookout

You don’t just have to watch out during Fourth festivities but also, the aftermath. After the celebration all kinds of plastic, noisemakers, and leftover sparklers can be left on the ground — all of which are dangerous to animals.

Get an ID

Before you head out to a barbecue, make sure your pet has on a collar with your contact information. Even better, make sure they have a micro-chip. All pets are scanned when they’re brought into shelters and this could save you a lot of time and worry.

Archive Highlights