Most pets don’t look forward to 4th of July because that means it’s fireworks time. For the most part, pets are not a fan of fireworks and are startled by the noises. Here are some safety tips to help you and your pet get through 4th of July.
- Keep pets indoors during the celebrations. It is recommended to close the curtains and turn on the TV or radio to provide some distraction. Many pets will want to seek comfort in their crate, bed or house.
- If you must be outside with your pet, use a leash or carrier at all times. This will be helpful just in case if your pet becomes scared by any noise and tries to bolt or escape.
- Keep pets away from matches, open fires, and fireworks. Pets may try to sniff (or eat) fireworks, and pet hair can easily catch on fire if they are too close to the fireworks.
- Take your pet for a walk to “take care of business” before the fireworks start just in case if your pet becomes frightened during the fireworks and has an accident.
- Make sure that your pet’s ID is up to date.
More pet safety tips for the 4th of July after the jump.
What can I do if my pet is frightened of fireworks and thunder?
Some animals do fine and don’t seem to notice the fireworks. Some do well with just having their owner near, talking in a soothing voice and petting or holding the pet. And then there are some pets that cannot be calmed by petting or talking to them - they are simply too upset. Animals that are frightened/stressed can hurt themselves and possibly escape if left alone, and the results can be fatal. Frightened animals running loose are in great danger of being hit by a car.
For these animals, it is best to provide a safe place, such as a carrier, to be in while the fireworks last. This alone may be enough of a comfort to soothe some pets. If the carrier is not enough to calm the animal, medication (in the form of a tranquilizer) may be warranted. Tranquilizers are not for every pet. Talk to your vet about medical options that are suitable for your dog or cat. A patient-doctor relationship is needed before dispensing medications, so if your pet hasn’t seen the vet yet, an appointment will need to be made to examine the animal to ensure that there aren’t any underlying heart or other problems, and base any medications on current weight.
To help your pet become accustomed to thunder and other loud noises, you can try some behavior modification. This technique involves playing a recording of thunder at very low levels. Use the time to reassure your pet that everything is fine. Gradually increase the volume slowly over time, as your pet is able to handle the sounds without getting stressed. Many stores carry “relaxation” types of music, and I have seen several rain/thunderstorm CDs available. This technique does require time and patience for it to be effective. Start slow, and do short sessions only at first.
Praising the pet for remaining calm is important. Be careful not to overdo praising, you want the pet to feel that this is “situation normal” as much as possible.