• Claudine Wilkins

fireworks: Georgia law and pets

What You Need to Know Regarding GA Fireworks Laws and Your Pets, and Things You Can Do Make This 4th of July Less Stressful For Your Pets.


By Claudine Wilkins, Founder of Animal Law Source™, Copyright 2020, All rights reserved

Starting in 2005, it became legal to sell novelty fireworks, such as sparklers, in Georgia. In 2015 legislative session, the General Assembly passed House Bill 110, which was the initial legislation that legalizes and sets parameters for the distribution, transportation and retail sale of consumer fireworks in our state. HB 110 allows Georgians who are 18 years of age or older to buy and use fireworks without a license between the hours of 10 a.m. and 12 a.m. in any location not prohibited by law, such as indoor spaces.


THINGS TO DO TO MAKE THIS 4TH OF JULY LESS STRESSFUL FOR YOUR PETS. This year once again, we will be lighting the grills, unfolding the lawn chairs and putting festive food out on long tables - it’s the 4th of July!

The 4th of July has long been a day to celebrate our independence and our country with friends, family and sometimes that includes our four legged family members.

Fireworks are a big part of the 4th of July, but while they are a tradition,

or some pets, fireworks are not a reason to party, but a reason to panic, have anxiety and fear.

On and around Independence day, shelters and animal control see an increase in calls regarding pets who have ingested fireworks or who have run away or are having issues with all the loud noises fireworks make.

With a little research and planning, you can insure your four-legged family members are safe and sound and not stressed out during this celebratory time.

Ensuring you can find your pet if it gets out during Fireworks

First and foremost, make sure your pet has a collar with tag on it and/or is microchipped. If your dog is microchicped, make sure your information is up-to-date on the site of the microchip company.

If your pet does get lost, immediately call all area shelters and make a report, get on social media and let everyone know, make a digital and physical flyer to post online and in the streets around your house. Use service like petfinder or others online that will get the word out quickly.

If you are having people over, make everyone aware you have pets and to not disturb, taunt or let them out during the fireworks.

If your pet has a fear of or aversion to loud noises:

  • Turn on some soft music and moving your pet into an interior room with no windows can be helpful.

  • An anxiety vest may work in some cases—if you don’t have one, try a snugly fitting t-shirt.

  • Schedule a Pre-Fireworks Workout: Going for a long hike or spending time playing during the day will help wear out your dog before the fireworks begin. A dog that’s mentally and physically exhausted may be less likely to react to fireworks.

  • Schedule Meals and Potty Time Early.Time your dog’s dinner and bathroom trips well in advance of nightfall, since fireworks usually start when it gets dark. There’s nothing worse than a dog that’s scared of fireworks that needs to go outside, but is too terrified to go.

  • Keep Your Pup Occupied During Fireworks. Providing a distraction to give your dog something to focus on during fireworks, keeps him focused on the distraction and not on the noises.

  • Muffle the Noise of the Fireworks. Plug in a white noise machine, turn on the T.V. or turn on calming music loud enough so that the fireworks are camouflaged. If your dog feels safe in his crate, cover the top, sides, and back with a thick blanket and play music or sounds for him. Just make sure your dog can leave the crate if he wants to.

  • If you and your veterinarian do decide that anti-anxiety mediation is your pet’s best bet, there are a few things to do:

  1. Try out the medication before the Fourth to see how your pet responds to the medication.

  2. Don’t share medication with another pet or give more than the recommended amount. This could lead to you and your pet ending up at your local veterinary emergency clinic.

  • While noise phobias are not as common in cats, they can and do happen. Fortunately, cats tend to hide when frightened. Checking in on your cats, having some quiet music on and keeping them indoors during the height of the fireworks is always a good idea.

Keep fireworks and food out of your pet’s reach:

  • Some dogs will eat anything, regardless of how it tastes—including fireworks! Never underestimate your pet’s level of curiosity.

  • Fireworks contain several types of chemicals and heavy metals. If you set off fireworks at home, make sure you thoroughly clean up the area before letting your dog have access again.

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