Like everyone else in America, you are probably planning to have a festive, with a capital F, Fourth of July. Which undoubtedly means fireworks. The more fireworks the better!! While you are eagerly anticipating all the flash boom bangs, please take a moment to consider your pets. Unlike people, pets don't associate the noise, flashes, and burning smell with celebrations. Some pets are terrified of fireworks, and often panic at the loud noises they produce. Remember your dog's hearing is much more sensitive than ours.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Tire 'em out - Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day so they are tired and can more easily relax.
- Create a safe haven - Keep your dog inside during fireworks and provide a safe place for them to retreat. If your dog is comfortable in a crate, that is a good option. Close the curtains (and windows), leave a TV or radio on to mask the sound of fireworks and to provide familiar noises while you're out, and prepare 'goodies' (like kongs or raw bones) to help provide a distractor.
- Label your pet - Make sure your pets are wearing identification, properly fitted collars, and are microchipped with your current contact information. It's also a good idea to have a recent picture of your pet in case you have to put up signs.
- Drugs - Some pets need more help to deal with loud noises. If your pet is in danger of injuring themselves or becomes manically frantic, please speak to your veterinarian about prescription anxiety medication.
- Be prepared - Have a basic pet first aid kit on hand and know the location and hours of the nearest emergency pet hospital just in case. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
The American Humane Association reports that July 5 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters. Why? Because they are inundated with pets that panicked during fireworks and wound up lost, injured, or killed.
The safest place for your pet to celebrate this Fourth of July is at home, not in a crowded, unfamiliar, and noisy place. So if you are heading over to your friend's house for a barbecue, leave your dog at home. They will appreciate the quiet.