Fireworks can be dangerous for pets and children

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Watching and setting off fireworks can be a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July, but fireworks can be dangerous for pets and kids.

“Many dogs become lost during fireworks shows and end up at shelters because they're so scared of the loud noises and the crowds,” Angela Speed from the Wisconsin Humane Society said.

Speed says the Fourth of July is one of the busiest days for shelters, and says shelters take in animals that run away from all the commotion.  Speed says it's always best to leave your dogs at home.

“Inside a cool, quiet place -- somewhere where they're really comfortable,” Speed said.

If your dog suffers from anxiety during fireworks, or even thunderstorms, there are products that can help.

“We sell homeopathic anxiety medication at our shelters and there's also thunder shirts, which are shirts that constrict their torsos which can have a calming effect,” Speed said.

Not only are shelters busy during the holiday, but so are emergency rooms.  According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 8,700 firework-related injuries were treated by emergency crews last year. Four out of 10 involved children younger than 15.

Small sparklers, which can reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees, are the leading cause of burns and other injuries.

“Most people think they are pretty tame type of devices, but most communities have outlawed sparklers because of their danger,” North Shore Fire Chief Robert Whitaker said.

Bottom line: the only way to enjoy fireworks safely is to leave them to the professionals.

Fireworks use is actually illegal in most communities in southeast Wisconsin.  Be sure to check with your municipality to see what fireworks, if any, residents are allowed to use.