As much as a lot of us love fireworks, our four-legged companions often do not share the same sentiments. Here in the US, the 4th of July is a day when fireworks fill the night sky. More pets end up in shelters during and after the 4th of July than any other time of year. What we can do to protect them, is provide an environment and support system to help keep our pets feeling as safe as possible. If this is your first “explosive” holiday with your pets and/or you know they are susceptible to being frightened by loud noises, here are some tips to help ease them throughout the night.
million animals are lost each year
of dogs are returned to their owners
of microchipped dogs in shelters are returned to their owners
Get them out a few times during the day. A few long walks, play fetch, take them to a dog park….anything that will help them expend energy. Tired dogs are calmer and generally more quiet. The last good activity should hopefully be before sunset but keep in mind the heat if your area is prone to high temperatures. Take precautions to help them stay cool as well.
2. A Safe Space
Dogs feel safer in enclosed areas when they are feeling disoriented. It’s good to have a readily available space to make a shelter for them. A crate is a good option if they are comfortable in them. Remove visual stressors by covering their crate (if they’re making their shelter in one) or close the blinds/curtains in the room to help keep them calm.
3. Staying By Their Side
If able, stay home if this is your pet’s first time, or if you know that they are susceptible to stress from visual or audible stimuli. Staying by their side can provide reassurance and comfort.
4. Drowning the Sound
In addition to keeping the windows closed, you can turn up the sound from the radio or television. Something that can provide background noise, like a fan or air conditioner can help as well.
5. Playful Distractions
Leave your pet with something fun to do. You can use frozen treats, a KONG filled with long lasting treats (like peanut butter), or play some indoor games.
6. Respect Their Stress
Don’t chastise them if they bark, whine, or howl. It can cause additional stress by inadvertently reaffirming their fears. Also, do not pull them out of their safe space or force them closer to the fireworks in attempt to acclimate to the stimuli.
7. Be Prepared
Make sure your pets are always wearing ID tags with properly fitting collars and that they are microchipped. Keep the microchip’s registration information current. This will help bring them home sooner if they are found by a neighbor or animal control.