What is Fireworks Poisoning?
Fireworks can be quite dangerous to the curious or unwary pet. Not only is there a risk of injury due to the possibility of burns or injury from the gunpowder going off but the ingredients within explosives can be quite toxic as well. Metals such as copper and zinc are often used to create the spectacular colors of fireworks, and can be detrimental to your dog’s health. Ingestion of any amount of explosives should be considered an emergency and contact with your veterinarian should be made immediately if your pet consumes any amount of explosives.
Fireworks are not meant to be ingested and contain several toxic components which are harmful for your canine. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet has ingested any part of a firework.
Book First Walk Free!
Symptoms of Fireworks Poisoning in Dogs
Some symptoms, such as burns on the lips and mouth and vomiting, will most likely occur immediately upon ingestion. Other symptoms such as jaundice, uncoordinated movement, and diarrhea, may take several hours to present.
- Abdominal pain
- Burns on lips or inside mouth
- Diarrhea, possibly bloody
- Kidney failure
- Shallow breathing
- Soft tissue injury
- Uncoordinated movement
The toxic ingredients are not the only reason to keep your pets away from fireworks. Other possible problems with pets and fireworks can include any or all of the following:
- The smoke that occurs when fireworks are ignited can cause irritation and conjunctivitis to the eyes
- The loud sounds and unexpected bright lights of fireworks can cause some dogs to panic and react in dangerous ways
- If your dog appears fearful you can reduce the anxiety by keeping your pet in a quiet indoor room away from the fireworks
- Dog fur is flammable and the volatile sparks from fireworks could cause burns to your companion
Injury due to explosion
- Injury to the nose, mouth, lips and eyes are common when the dogs either try to attack or to examine lit fireworks, or they chew on unlit firecrackers
Causes of Fireworks Poisoning in Dogs
Some of the toxins that may be present in fireworks:
- Aluminum- Adds silver color
- Barium - Adds green color
- Chlorates/Chlorine - Used as oxidizers
- Copper - Adds blue color
- Iron - Creates sparks
- Lithium - Adds red color
- Magnesium - Adds a brilliant white color
- Potassium nitrate, chlorate, or perchlorate - Another common oxidizer
- Sodium - Adds yellow color
- Zinc - Used to create smoke effects
Diagnosis of Fireworks Poisoning in Dogs
If you suspect your dog has ingested all or part of any fireworks it is imperative to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will need to see your dog in the office to perform a physical examination and begin supportive care as soon as possible. The veterinarian will likely pay particular attention to the abdominal area to try and locate any palpable remnants or blockages. Blood will also be drawn for standard tests such as complete blood count and chemistry profile. Urine, stool, and vomitus will need to be tested as well, in order to expose any additional toxins that may have been introduced into the dog’s system. If you have any portion of the firecracker that has not been ingested bring that with you to the veterinarian’s office as well as any remaining packaging. If a blockage is suspected, then x-ray or ultrasound imaging may be recommended to render the obstruction visible.
Treatment of Fireworks Poisoning in Dogs
Treatment will depend on how the fireworks have affected your pet thus far, and how long it has been since ingestion. If ingested recently enough, your veterinarian may opt to induce vomiting in your pet to avoid future blockages or absorption of any toxins. Due to the volatile nature of the chemicals involved do not induce vomiting until instructed by your veterinarian. If it has been longer, a large fibrous or bulky meal, such as sweet potato or pumpkin may be recommended to help push the toxins through the system with minimal absorption.
Supportive treatment will be given for any catastrophic symptoms. This could include IV fluids for dehydration and medications prescribed to alleviate specific symptoms. These medications may be given either orally, by intramuscular injection or intravenously, and could include any combination of gastroprotective, anti-nausea, or pain management medications. Prognosis will depend on the amount ingested, the composition of the explosive, and amount of time between ingestion and treatment.
Recovery of Fireworks Poisoning in Dogs
Keeping the recovering patient in a quiet and calm environment and making sure that he or she completes the full measure of any recommended or prescribed medications will help encourage a speedy recovery. Medications such as laxatives, stomach protectants, and antacids may be prescribed to combat further symptoms, and your dog is likely to need more frequent trips to relieve themselves than they normally would. Your canine companion should continue to be monitored to ensure that symptoms of mercury or heavy metal poisoning are spotted if they develop. If symptoms of these types of toxicity do develop, contact your veterinarian for further treatment immediately. The patient will most likely also need a follow up appointment to ensure that there are no remaining issues that may not have obvious outward signs.
Fireworks Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My dog bella ate some small amount of firecrackers and till now she is not showing any symptoms means she is normal.. i asked my vet.. and he suggested me to feed bananas. Wat should i do next?
Add a comment to Bella's experience
Was this experience helpful?
Aries is my dog who is a pitbull grate Dane. I suspect he might have chewed up a long sparkler firework and was wondering what to do. Other than seeming to not eat as much unless there's peanut butter in it he seems to be fine.
Add a comment to Aries's experience
Was this experience helpful?
My dog ate one of the poppers you through on the grown last night and I'm not sure if he's okay. He has been acting very sleepy the past few days but today he didn't even want to get up to go outside which isn't like him. Should I worry?
If Niko isn’t behaving like he does normally, I would be concerned; there are many different products which may be present in these firework products, the best course of action would be to call the Pet Poison Helpline ($59 fee) to speak with them as they have a treasure trove of information on many different chemicals and compounds which would be able to help you as there is little information freely available online regarding the ingestion of these products in dogs. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
Add a comment to Niko's experience
Was this experience helpful?