The Fourth of July is one of the most stressful and potentially dangerous times of the year for pets. While you and your family, friends, and neighbors are celebrating the holiday with fireworks, pets are finding these festive activities anything but celebratory.
Many pet parents assume that if their pet is not afraid of thunder or other loud noises, they will not be bothered by fireworks. This is not necessarily true. Even pets who normally are not bothered by thunder and other loud noises are often frightened and panicked by the cumulative effects of the fireworks, the excited voices outside, and being left alone inside the house.
If pets are left outside and unattended, the noise and raucous often drives them to run away. In fact, the July 4th holiday is a very busy time for animal shelters across the U.S. They report taking in a higher number dogs that run off during firework festivities. In addition, many police stations log higher volumes of stray dog calls and barking complaints on July 4th compared to any other day of the year.
By planning ahead and taking some common sense precautions, you can help ensure your pet is happy and safe this Fourth of July.
- Do not take your pet to fireworks displays.
- Do not leave your pet alone in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects even death in a few short minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but they do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen. See our previous post: Leaving Pets In Parked Car Can Be A Deadly Mistake. However, if your pet is most comfortable in the car, some pet parents find that driving around with their pet in the car helps to calm their pet.
- Keep your pets in your home in a comfortable and quiet area with the shades drawn. If your pet is crate trained, then their crate is a great choice. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you've removed any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep your pet company while you're attending Fourth of July picnics, parades, and other celebrations.
- If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays.
- If your pet seeks comfort in a bath tub, under a bed or other small space...let them. Do not try to lure them out. If the space is safe and it makes them feel more secure, let them be.
- Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn't leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.
- Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly. Animals found running at-large should be taken to the local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.