Keeping pets safe during fireworks, and which ones you can use in Madison

Loud sounds and bright lights from fireworks can frighten pets
Updated: Jul. 4, 2021 at 6:00 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - While fireworks can be fun for people to watch over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, they can strike fear in pets. The Dane County Humane Society has advice for pet owners to make sure their furry friends are comfortable through the noise and lights.

“What we see is a real uptick in stray, lost animals,” said Sarah Linn, Development and Marketing Supervisor with the Dane County Humane Society. “We’re getting calls from people whose animal escaped when they were scared, trying to find safety. They got out of the leash, out the collar, out the door, whatever it might be. We see a lot of animals that are lost from their families this weekend.”

Linn recommended making sure your pet has proper identification, such as updated microchip information or a collar, in case they do get out. To make sure your pet stays safe, Linn said it’s best to make sure they stay inside at home.

“Don’t take your pets with you to any of the outdoor fireworks shows that are going on. That can be a really fun time for people, but it can be a really scary experience for your pets,” Linn said. “Keep them at home in their safe haven, they know that they’re secure there.”

At home, Linn said owners can take steps to help their pets feel comfortable, including making sure they have items that can make them feel safe, like their favorite toys.

“Make sure that you’re creating a really safe environment for your pets,” she said. “That might mean that you pick out one room that’s a safe place, close the curtains so they don’t see the flashing lights. Turn on the radio or TV or some fans, create some white noise so that it’s not so loud.”

In the City of Madison, home fireworks are limited to snakes, sparklers, and poppers, according to Officer Michael Malloy with the Madison Police Department.

“The city is pretty restrictive in their firework ordinances,” he said. “If it goes up or if it goes bang, it’s probably not legal in the city.”

Malloy said if Madisonians ignore city ordinances, they can face fines around $400, plus any liability if their fireworks were to catch anything on fire. Malloy also said that lighting those larger or airborne fireworks at home can put strain on MPD if people call in mistaking them for gunshots.

“We’re seeing a lot of responses to fireworks that understandably are being confused with gunfire in the city,” he said. “It can be fairly resource intensive for us to respond then find out that these are fireworks. We don’t want to discourage people from calling to report what they think may be gunfire by any means, but that’s one of the reasons we’re asking people to refrain from doing fireworks.”

For more information on the City of Madison fireworks rules, see the city ordinances. Malloy suggested checking the guidelines for your specific community before lighting fireworks.

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