For people, the Fourth of July fireworks displays are a quintessential summer experience. For pets, these unexpected explosions and bright arrays of colors are anything but enjoyable. Dogs, cats and many other types of animals are terrified of fireworks, and their anxiety is a real issue that many pet parents must address. There also are safety issues that must be considered when preparing for Fourth of July festivities and protecting your pets.
While you get ready for your Fourth of July BBQ and await the bright fireworks and glittering displays, be sure to also take extra measures to keep your pets safe, happy and healthy.
Fourth of July and Pets: What You Need to Know
According to a 2015 release by Pet Amber Alert, the number of lost pets in the United States increases by 30 percent between July 4 and July 6. This is no coincidence, as these pets clearly have lost their way as a result of anxiety and trauma caused by Fourth of July festivities. This summer holiday is hallmarked by its loud, long fireworks displays, and dogs, in particular, are very scared by these events.
Whether you have a dog, cat or another type of household pet, you should be aware of this starting statistic. By understanding that your pets will be uncomfortable during this time period, you can take extra measures to reduce anxiety and prevent your pet from becoming lost or injured.
How to Keep Your Pet Safe During Fireworks Shows
These are a few tips that pet parents can use when trying to protect their four-legged friends over the holiday weekend:
- Make sure your pet has been microchipped and is also wearing an ID tag. In the event that your pet inadvertently escapes from your house or yard, you will want to make sure that your pet can easily be identified by someone who finds them. Also verify that the contact information that is stored in your pet's microchip is up-to-date with your most recent address and phone number. This is the easiest way for you to reconnect with your lost pet.
- Take a picture of your pet just before the Fourth of July celebrations begin. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a recent photo can help you quickly spread the word about your pet should you become separated. You can share this photo on social media as well as provide the photo to local police departments, business owners and veterinarians.
- Keep your pet inside your home in a space that feels safe and comfortable. The best way to prevent your pet from becoming separated from you is to keep them in a safe space inside. Many dogs, for example, feel secure and comfortable in their own crates. Make sure that the interior space where you keep your pet is properly secured and includes comfortable items that will provide your pet with a sense of peace and stability.
- Do not bring your pet to the local fireworks show. Many pet parents love to bring their furry family members to all of their favorite activities, but it's best to leave your pooch at home for the fireworks. Your dog will be more scared in a new environment and will be more affected by the loud noises as well as the bright lights.
Minimizing Pet Anxiety During Fireworks
In addition to taking measures to prevent your pet from escaping the safety of your home, you also can make an effort to help your pet feel more comfortable and less scared during this time.
These are a few ways that you can minimize pet anxiety during Fourth of July fireworks:
- Play music for your pet that may drown out the sound of fireworks. According to ASPCA, soft music or a white noise machine can be used to help reduce the impact of the explosion. After securing your pet in a safe room inside your home, you can turn on the radio or a sound machine to help minimize their anxiety.
- Talk to your veterinarian about your pet's anxiety. The veterinarian may be able to prescribe medication to combat the physical symptoms of anxiety. However, do not provide your pet with any medication without getting a prescription from your veterinarian. Only a medical professional can diagnose and treat anxiety in animals.
- Wrap your pet in a blanket after placing them in a crate. Much like babies feel more secure when swaddled, animals feel more safe and comfortable when they are wrapped up tight. If your dog cannot be effectively swaddled, then you may want to consider purchasing an anti-anxiety jacket or shirt that it can wear.
- Skip the fireworks show yourself and simply stay with your pet. Your pet is likely to feel less scared when you are around. Rather than spend your evening in the backyard watching the skies, spend some time cuddling your pet on the couch. They will appreciate having the opportunity to be near you, and you will likely enjoy the quality time with your pet more than the crowds and noises of the fireworks display.
As Americans across the country get ready to don their red, white and blue, it is also important that they take the time to care for their pets during this stressful season of the year. Fireworks drive serious anxiety in pets, and can lead to pets running away, hiding or injuring themselves. While this is an exciting time during the peak of summer, it's also an important moment to stay mindful of your pet.
If you have any additional concerns about your pets and the best way to celebrate during the Fourth of July, reach out to your veterinarian.