Let’s talk fireworks. While we, as humans, are likely to enjoy the bright colors and luminous display of fireworks, your pet will have a completely different experience. The Fourth of July, and any other occasion for launching fireworks, can be a terrifying and overwhelming time for your four-legged best friends. Dogs, especially, experience the world through their senses, so being exposed to the bright lights, booming noises, and burning smells of a fireworks display will, without a doubt, cause anxiety. Around the nation, animal shelters report a drastic increase of lost pets around this time of year¹. Luckily, steps can be taken to keep your pet safe during this otherwise stressful time.
Your best solution is to leave your pet at home. Even though you may feel as if your pet is “missing out” on the festivities, that is simply human guilt talking². It is a much kinder and more responsible choice to leave your pet at home, in a place where they feel comfortable and safe, rather than exposing them to cacophony and confusion. If your pet is traditionally kept outdoors, bring them inside for the evening¹. If possible, try to confine your pet to a single area, like a bedroom or kennel crate, and turn on the radio or television to drown out the noises outside. Thick curtains can also be utilized to shield your pet from the flashing lights³.
If you have the choice to stay home with your pets, you can offer them a great deal of comfort and support by petting them and giving them positive affirmations². If you can’t stay with your pet, then consider bringing in a pet sitter, or any other familiar human to supervise your pet and encourage them to remain calm.
Proper identification is crucial during this time of year. Even if your pet is kept inside, anxiety induced by fireworks may cause your pet to take desperate measures and try to escape¹. It is an instinct to run and hide from loud noises, and therefore, more pets run away during this time of year than any other. If your pet is wearing a collar with proper identification tags, then you have much greater chances of them being returned to you in case the unthinkable happens. This is also a good time to have your pet microchipped if they aren’t already.
If you live near where fireworks are traditionally shot-off, then you may want to consider boarding your pet in a kennel, or taking them to a familiar friend’s house far away from the noise³. While these are not ideal choices, it will still ensure that your pet is safe and secure.
If your pet experiences severe anxiety around loud noises, then you may consider speaking with your vet about sedatives¹. Summer is not only known for fireworks; the prevalence of thunderstorms can also send your pet into an anxious state. Having a conversation about sedatives may be crucial to ensure that your pet is not constantly in a state of stress throughout all the summer months.
Above all, your best plan will be to keep your pets secured at home, as far away from the noises as possible. Your pet will not be sad to be missing the fireworks, but will instead be grateful to have responsible pet parents who keep them calm, safe, and happy.
- More pets are reported lost during the Fourth of July than any other time of year.
- Keep your pets far away from fireworks. Make sure they are in a familiar, secure place and do your best to drown out the light and noise.
- Ensure that your pet has proper identification on them always.
- Consider boarding your pet or talk to your vet about sedatives if staying home isn’t the best option.
- “July Fourth Fireworks: Awesome for Humans, Terrifying for Pets.” The Humane Society of the United States. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 June 2017.
- “Keeping Your Dog Safe When the Fireworks Start.” Cesar’s Way. N.p., 28 June 2017. Web. 30 June 2017.
- “Fireworks and Pets Don’t Mix.” PetMD. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 June 2017.