For many of us the Fourth of July is a day of celebration, but for our pets it’s often a different story. Firework displays can be highly stressful for cats and dogs. The loud bangs, whistles and explosive sounds can hurt their ears and frighten even the bravest of pets.
Some dogs are so terrified of fireworks that they escape from homes, yards or kennels due to panic and anxiety. According to the ASPCA, nearly one-in-five lost pets go missing after being scared by fireworks. In fact, July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters, which fill up quickly with animals who panic and flee the bright lights and loud noises of holiday celebrations.
Fortunately, there are steps pet parents can take to help comfort your pet during fireworks and celebrations.
Here are nine tips to help calm your cat or dog during fireworks.
- Keep your pets indoors with closed windows and close the dog/cat door, if you have one.
- Make sure your pet’s collar is on and all identification tags are updated with your current contact information. Ensure your pet’s microchip is registered online. Many lost pets are never returned to their owners because the microchip information wasn’t registered or updated after leaving the shelter. Registering your pet’s microchip is free and easy to do, go to https://www.foundanimals.org/microchip-registry or www.freepetchipregistry.com.
- Comfort your pet with a blanket, a swaddling shirt, or have them go into an indoor crate if that’s a familiar, secure place for them.
- Turn on music or the television to help distract them from the noise outside. Your dog might enjoy watching TV for Dogs on YouTube, it's free. Your cat might prefer a little bird watching as a distraction, try turning on Videos and Sounds for Cats: Garden Birds Extravaganza on YouTube.
- Don’t leave your dog alone during fireworks and never leave your dog in a car due to summer heat.
- Try to tucker out your dog by taking them out for exercise in the morning.
- Feed them in the hours before the festivities begin so they are more willing to eat.
- If your dog has severe noise aversion, you may want to ask your veterinarian about different treatment options that will temporarily alleviate your pet’s anxiety.
- Be vigilant the morning after the Fourth. Pets may chew on firework debris, which can be toxic. Be sure to clean up any residue before allowing them to roam on your property.
We hope this list offers some helpful tips. For more Fourth of July pet safety tips read the American Veterinary Medical Association's guide.
If your pet has symptoms of ongoing anxiety that interferes with their daily life, read our blog article, Have an Anxious Pet? Anxiety & Pet Gut Health.
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