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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.

Fireworks Poisoning Average Cost

From 27 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$350

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
  • Jaundice
  • Kidney failure
  • Seizures
  • Shallow breathing
  • Soft tissue injury
  • Tremors 
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Types

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:

Eye irritation

  • The smoke that occurs when fireworks are ignited can cause irritation and conjunctivitis to the eyes

Fear response

  • 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

Flammable fur

  • 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
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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Fireworks Poisoning Average Cost

From 27 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$350

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Fireworks Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Bernese Mountain Dog

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Three Years

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Cought sniffing and licking a spent firework cardboard a couple inches long found in my yard.(neighbor I guess?) I took away still had grey pepples in it. Do i need to induce vomit

July 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

From your description, I would not think that you need to induce vomiting at this point. The spent fireworks are not typically toxic unless a large amount are ingested and it does not sound like that happened. It would be best to monitor your dog closely over the next 24 hours first signs of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or loss of appetite, and if any of those happen, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian right away. I think, given your description, though, your dog should be okay.

July 30, 2020

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Pit Bull/Doberman/Great Pyrenees

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Seven Months

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Chewed an unused sparkler

July 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Those can be quite irritating to the GI tract. If you notice any signs of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or loss of appetite, it would be best to have your puppy seen by a veterinarian right away for treatment. I hope that all goes well for your pup!

July 25, 2020

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German Shepherd

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Four Months

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He ate the remnant of a firework that had been shot off (so the piece that’s left behind

July 18, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I'm not sure what part of the firework you are referring to, whether it is the cardboard, or a sulfur remnant. It would probably be best to either call a Pet Poison Control hotline, or have him seen by a veterinarian if you are concerned, as they can get more details on what might be going on. I hope that all goes well for him.

July 18, 2020

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Bulldog

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Nine Months

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My puppy got a hold of some kind of sulfur from a spent firework. I was able to get the big piece from her but she still had some in her mouth. She's not showing any symptoms yet but I'm worried anyway. What should I do?

July 18, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. It would probably be best to call a pet poison hotline, or have her seen by a veterinarian right away. The sulfur in the firework may be quite caustic to her mouth and throat, and without knowing how much or if she swallowed any, it is hard to say if there's anything that may happen. I hope that she is okay.

July 18, 2020

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Mutt

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Seven Months

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My dog ate part of a morning glory sparkler around 10am this morning. It’s now 3:30 and she’s still acting okay but I just found out they’re toxic so I’m kind of panicking. What should I be looking for? My vet has no appt today and I called an emergency clinic who gave me animal poison control but I don’t have $75 to spare for a phone call when I’m thinking I’ll need to take her somewhere. What do I watch for? What can I do?

July 13, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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If you notice any signs of GI upset - vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or loss of appetite, then she would need to be seen by a veterinarian right away. I hope that she is okay.

July 13, 2020

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Pudge & Gooby

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Pug

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2 Years

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Critical severity

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Sudden Death

So my roommate has two pugs named Pudge & Gooby. They were both about 2 year old pugs in perfect health. Up to date in all their vaccinations and everything. They were in an outside kennel in a grassy area after the 4th of July. They had good & water and the weather is fairly moderate. Everyone was going out to check on them and they were fine all day. My roommate went to go bring them inside and both dogs were dead. Stick straight with flies on them and everything. Everyone is horrified. They think that maybe the dogs were in a part of the grass that had been contaminated with firework reside, but it just doesn’t make sense for them to both be dead at the same time without showing any signs of illness prior. Can firework poisoning become fatal that quickly??

Fireworks Poisoning Average Cost

From 27 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$350