Protecting pets this Fourth of July

By Eddie Drews

INDIANAPOLIS — Remi, a 7-year-old West Highland Terrier Poodle mix, is one of many dogs that will not enjoy the Fourth of July.

“Remi has seen fireworks,” said Jessi Dickerson, Remi’s owner, “and it was not a pleasant experience for him.”

Remi, a 7-year-old West Highland Terrier Poodle mix, looks up at the camera posing for a photo. Photo contributed by Jessi Dickerson.

Dickerson, a Greenwood resident, said Remi has incredibly high anxiety and when he’s around fireworks, it just gets worse.

“He looks very frightened,” she said. “His tail is between his legs. His ears are back. He’s shaking.”

Dogs and cats can panic, get injured or sometimes even die if they get too close to fireworks or run away. Every year animal shelters report a spike in the number of strays picked up around Independence Day, according to the Indiana State Board of Animal Health.

“We always try to caution people that even though they think their pet might be well-behaved or can tolerate it, the sudden changes and the loud noises and lights can sometimes cause them to run away,” said Dr. Sandi Norman, the board’s director of Companion Animal/Equine.

To keep your pet safe at summer celebrations, the Board of Animal Health recommends keeping pets leashed and make sure someone is always with them.

Norman leaves her dog, Molly, at home during the festivities.

“She is much happier inside than she is outside,” Norman said.

Norman said to never leave pets unattended outdoors and to keep them inside when fireworks are being used.

While inside, owners can give their animals a favorite toy in a closed room or crate.  

“A lot of times we’ll turn on a TV to help drown out some noise,” Dickerson said.

Dickerson and her husband typically aren’t home for the holiday. This Fourth of July, however, Remi will be in the company of his new friend, Wrigley, a 2-year-old Goldendoodle, that the Dickersons recently adopted.

“We leave the lights on for them so it’s not dark, so they can’t see flashes of light,” she said. “They’re usually ok after it’s over.”

Eddie Drews is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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