July 4th Fireworks – Not So Paw-Friendly

Our most patriotic Holiday -4th of July- can potentially be one of the most stressful and dangerous days of the year for our furry friends. While we are celebrating with our family, friends, and neighbors this holiday with fireworks, our cats and dogs may find these festive activities anything but amusing.

Many of us assume that if our pet is not afraid of thunder or other loud noises, fireworks will not bother him or her either, but this is not necessarily true. Even pets who are normally not affected by loud noises, natural or otherwise, are often frightened and panicked by the cumulative effects of fireworks, as well as the audible excitement around the house when they are left alone inside our home.

Unattended pets are often driven to anxiety and seeking escape from the noise. Eventually, they may succeed in finding a way out and they run away. In fact, according to the ASPC, “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.”

So, let’s plan ahead and take some common sense precautions in order to ensure that our pets have a happy, safe, and healthy 4th of July.

  • Do not take your pet to fireworks displays, and keep them away from 4th of July picnics, parades, and other festivities.
  • Never leave your pet alone in the car. The hot air inside a vehicle to quickly lead to breathing difficulties, overheating and your pet can suffer serious health effects even death in a few short minutes, potentially leading to death.
  • It is never a good idea to leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. Anxiety can lead to irrational behavior, and pets who normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.
  • We may not think about it every day, but it is imperative that our pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned to us as quickly as possible. While cats and dog found roaming around should be taken to the local animal shelter for the best chance of being reunited with their owners, it may also be a good idea to check with your local pet supply stores, groomers and vets. Very often dogs are recognized by local shop keepers and neighbors,  or checked for microchips, and our poor, lost souls don’t have to go through the additional trauma of being caught and sheltered.
  • Keep your pets at home in a comfortable and quiet area with the shades drawn. If your dog is crate trained, then their little “cave” is a great choice for safety and comfort. You may even cover the top and sides with a blanket for that extra feeling of security.  And while you are at it, throw in one of Fido’s favorite toys, or a T-shirt belonging to mom or dad. This suggestive closeness will definitely help your dog feeling safe.
  • If you know that your dog or cat becomes destructive when frightened, so be sure to remove any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed. Leaving a TV or radio playing at normal volume can help your pet feeling like there is company in the house. In serious cases it is always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before this noisy Holiday, or to hire a pet sitter, or even send your pet to camp for the night to help alleviate the fear and anxiety they will experience during those noisy fireworks.

So, here is to a happy and safe Independence Day for all of, including our pets. Woof!

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