The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, is one of the most special days in American history. It represents freedom and independence. But when it comes to the pet world, the holiday can represent fear. The Fourth is often celebrated with fireworks across the country. Experienced pet owners know all too well that their biggest concern are the bright lights and loud noises as they can be a scary situation for them. More often than not, animals panic hearing the loud booms caused by fireworks and try to flee. According to the American Kennel Club, more pets go missing on July 4 and 5 than any other day of the year. “There are many factors that influence this,” says Dallas Harsa, AKC Reunite’s VP of sales and marketing. “Barbecues, many people coming in and out of the house, and even the noise of the fireworks, which may cause pets to panic and they will try to flee somewhere. They don’t know where the noise is coming from and they try to escape because they don’t understand.” Many pets suffer from noise aversion, meaning they experience anxiety while around loud noises. Common signs of noise aversion are shaking or trembling, excessive panting, vocalizing, refusing to eat, and pacing or restlessness. Fireworks are obviously loud in nature, therefore they are stimulant to cause a strong reaction in animals. If your pet suffers from noise aversion, they should be kept inside at home and preferably with a family member during this holiday. Especially, if this is your first Fourth of July with them.
While celebrating the Fourth of July this upcoming weekend, don’t forget to keep your pet’s safety and comfort in mind. This time of year is often a hard time for pet parents so we thought we would share some tips from a variety of pet experts to help keep our furry friends safe for this holiday.
It is extremely important for you to make sure your pet has proper and correct identification to ensure the safe return of a pet, should they happen to flee. Pet owners should make sure that their animals are wearing an ID tag with the correct information. It is highly recommended that owners also make sure their pet is not only microchipped, but also double-check that the microchip is up to date.
Pet owners can register a microchip for free here.
Leave pets at home.
PETA stresses the importance of owners leaving their pets at home rather than bringing them along to watch fireworks displays. It is crucial that you keep your pets at home and indoors. Owners should not leave their animals tethered or chained outside. The nonprofit stated, “They can hang themselves if they leap over a fence while trying to run from the noise. Animals can also injure themselves while trying to climb out of pens.”
Make sure they get exercise.
If the temperatures aren’t too high this upcoming weekend, PETA recommends taking dogs for a long walk or to play at a dog park before the fireworks begin to help tire them out. This is so important as it will help release their energy so they are tired by the time the sun goes down. If your dog(s) have to go outside to relieve themselves, make sure they are leashed in case they are startled by some fireworks.
Create a safe space inside.
Your pet is the safest at home and indoors. The Michelson Found Animals Foundation recommends creating a safe and escape-proof space in your home. The foundation said, “Lower the blinds, close the windows, provide a bed or crate where they feel comfortable, offer a special chew or toy to distract them, and turn on the TV or radio to help mask the noises outside.” Please make sure to keep your pets inside your homes somewhere safe and with background noise, such as the radio or tv. Background noises can help with reducing the effect of outside noises on our pets. Another option is to wrap your pet as confining movement can actually have a calming effect on them according to the foundation. There are anti-anxiety wraps or coats made for animals.
A calming aid can be beneficial.
PETA’s President Ingrid Newkirk said, “To animals, fireworks really do sound like ‘bombs bursting in air’.” To aid in reducing the stress and anxiety from the celebrations, there are a variety of medications and supplements. Please contact your veterinarian early to determine which is the best for your pet as every situation and pet is not the same.
Double-check the locks!
Before nightfall and any fireworks display, make sure that all doors, gates, and windows are closed to help drain out the loud noises and to prevent an escape. If you have guests coming over, make sure they are careful not to let your pet out.
Coming off of the pandemic, we except there will be a lot of fireworks and noises this upcoming weekend. So when in doubt, just make sure someone is there with the animal to comfort them if needed. We hope you all, including your furry loved ones, have a safe and fun-filled Fourth of July! Enjoy!
Happy Independence Day!