Author: Dr. Clarissa G. Noureddine, DVM, MS, MS
Recently, a dog died after a fireworks show at a baseball game in Ohio (1-3). It’s so sad to hear that an event meant to bring fun and joy turned into a tragedy for this dog and her family. The ‘Paws and Pints’ event was put on by the Toledo Mud Hens. It was an event where dogs and owners were invited into the park for fun and festivities.
The dog’s name was Stella, and she was a very sweet 18-month-old Samoyed. She had been around fireworks a number of times and done fine. Her owners described her as fearless. But something about the fireworks getting started that night caused Stella to jump, squeal and collapse. Her heart stopped. Her owners, and several other people, attempted to revive her. Then her owners rushed her to an emergency clinic but she could not be revived. Ultimately, the owners learned that Stella’s heart had a congenital defect that may have contributed to or been the cause of what happened (3).
As you can imagine, the event has sparked questions such as ‘Why would the group include fireworks at an event that was also welcoming dogs?’, and ‘Why would owners take dogs to a fireworks event?’ The responses of both the owners of the dog, and the Mud Hens have been moving.
Here is the statement released by the ball club (2,3):
“Any words seem inadequate in expressing our sympathy at the loss of a doggie family member following our Paws and Pints event last night. The entire organization is heartbroken that a lovely evening ended so sadly. We are in agreement with the community that in the future, no dog-friendly events will be held in conjunction with fireworks. With our mission to provide family-friendly events to our community, we work hard to do our best, but this time we fell short. As a symbol of our sympathy, we will be making a memorial contribution to an animal charity of the family’s choice.”
And here is what the owners told the Toledo Blade (3)
“We don’t blame the Mud Hens. We don’t blame them at all, we want people to know this was an accident. There’s just been this outrageous [rush] to blame all over online, and we don’t want that. We never blamed anyone.”
What Can We Learn From This Tragedy?
With summer festivities upon us and July 4th just around the corner, the sounds of fireworks are sure to follow. Our pets our part of the family. Especially when it comes to dogs, pet owners are striving more and more to take them along and include them in activities outdoors and away from home. So it’s important for us to consider ways that we can protect our pets and keep them safe in our outdoor adventures. Here are some key considerations for dogs and fireworks:
- Many animals are frightened by fireworks.
- Most often the safest place for your pet is indoors in an escape-proof room or crate during a fireworks show. Dogs who would typically never run out of an open door may bolt unexpectedly if startled by fireworks.
- Know your pet and what they may find fearful.
- Understand that things that seemed ‘fine’ before can still trigger a fearful reaction in your pet, so use caution in the types of events you choose.
We encourage you to talk with your pet’s veterinarian about any behavioral concerns you may have regarding your pet. We have a lot of tools to work with for behavioral issues. While medication may be needed, we also have other options – and behavioral modification and training is a huge component of any behavior modification plan.
We want to help you keep your pets safe – while still having fun – this summer!
- Local veterinarian gives warning after dog dies during Hensville fireworks show: After a dog passes away Friday evening following a fireworks show at the Toledo Mud Hens game, a local veterinarian warns pet owners of possible dangers (Paley, T. 6/3/19, wtol.com)
- Dog dies during pet event with fireworks at Mud Hens Game (Hormann, B. 6/1/19, 13abc.com)
- Owners of dog who died at fireworks show: ‘We don’t blame the Mud Hens’ (Briggs, D. 6/4/19, Toledoblade.com)