One of the busiest days of the year for animal shelters in the U.S. is July 5th. As a matter of fact, more pets are lost between July 4th and 6th than any other time of the year due to Fourth of July fireworks. Sadly, only about 14% of those pets end up finding their way back to their owners.
Even if you personally aren’t setting off fireworks, it’s likely that someone in your neighborhood will be, and the constant bombardment of loud noise can be very frightening to your pets.
Some common signs that your fur baby is frightened or experiencing anxiety due to the loud noise, include pacing or running back and forth across the house, scared whining or whimpering, and heavy panting. They may also shed more than normal, drool, and put their tail between their legs. Their reactions may be similar to how they act when you run the vacuum cleaner.
On this year’s Independence Day Celebration, follow these essentials to keep your pets safe and calm, and they may just enjoy the celebration with you anxiety-free!
1. Walk them Early and Keep Pets Indoors. This is the most important way to keep fido safe. Even if he is generally an outdoor animal, bring him in the house on the 4th before the fireworks start. It may even be a good idea to plan on bringing him inside a couple of hours before sunset, as some people in your neighborhood may start early. If you usually take your pet for a walk in the evening, make plans to do it earlier on that day. The noise will be less indoors, and it affords you a better opportunity to keep an eye on them and to comfort them if they start feeling anxious.
2. Close the Windows. When the weather is hot, it’s tempting to leave the windows and doors open to get the air flowing and keep cool. But on Independence Day, closing the windows will reduce the noise significantly, especially if you have double pane or soundproof feature windows.
3. Turn On the TV. One of the best ways to keep the noise from bothering your pet is to drown it out with a less traumatic noise. Turn the TV up or play some music, to give them something more soothing to listen to. If you have an Audible subscription, put on some audiobooks for dogs that have shown a calming effect on 3 out of 4 dogs in studies conducted in partnership between Amazon’s Audible and Cesar Millan.
4. Act Naturally. To help your fur baby feel safe, try to relax and act naturally as much as possible yourself. Your pets are sensitive to your emotions and energy, so if you’re worried, they’re worried. Aside from walking them earlier in the day, do the same things you normally would to give them a sense of routine.
5. Comfort Them. Give your best friend hugs, cuddles, and other physical contact to make them feel safe. Dogs feel particularly safe in small enclosed spaces so keeping them in their crate or pet carrier may be a good idea if you have one. Keep the crate near you so they can see you and leave some familiar things inside, such as their favorite bed, toy, blanket, treats, etc.
6. Keep the Water Bowl Full. When your pet is scared or anxious, they’re prone to dehydrate more. Be sure to keep an eye on their water bowl and don’t let it get empty.
7. Be Cautious with Sparklers. Since sparklers don’t make as much noise as regular fireworks, you may think they’re a safe alternative. However, since they give off sparks, they can be harmful if your pet gets too close. If you do decide to use sparklers, do it somewhere your pet can’t get to it.
8. Be Aware of Alcohol Poisoning. The noise from fireworks isn’t the only danger to your pet this July 4th. If you’re doing any celebrating around them throughout the day, be aware of accidental alcohol intake. Pets can go into coma or even die from alcohol intoxication; and that includes beer, as the fermented hops and ethanol are poisonous to both dogs and cats.
9. Keep Lighter Fluid and Matches Away. Chlorates are harmful chemical substances that can be found in some matches. Exposure to this chemical or ingestion of lighter fluid can cause a number of health issues, including respiratory problems, skin irritation on contact, damaged blood cells, and even causing kidney disease.
10. Be Prepared for the Worst. Even after you’ve taken precautions to keep your pet safe, there’s still a chance they might run away. So take steps to increase the chances that they’ll be returned to you. Have their name and your contact information on their collar, so whoever finds them can get in touch with you. Take a good, clear picture of them with your phone (if you don’t have a recent one already), so that you can post their face around the neighborhood and alert people that they’re missing. And finally, there are a number of devices you can use, from a microchip to smart collars with GPS tracking like the one from Waggit, which will help you locate your pet more quickly if they should turn up missing.
Keeping your pet safe and comfortable this Independence Day can be achieved stress-free with some timely preparation. Following these tips can significantly reduce the chances of fido from running away. Get inspired, act now, and we wish you and your fur baby a fun and safe July 4th!