The fourth of July is a great day for celebration, BBQ and fireworks with your family and friends. Your pets, however, don't enjoy the noise and crowds as much as you do. Many pets are scared the loud and unpredictable sound of fireworks, and some simply run away in a panic.
Did you know that more pets, especially dogs, are lost on the 4th of July than any other day in the year?
The American Humane Association reports that Independence Day is the busiest time of the year for animal shelters because they day after the 4th of July, and even for a few days after as celebrations continue through the weekend, shelters are “inundated with pets that panicked at the noise of firecrackers and fled into the night, winding up lost, injured or killed.”
Here are 7 tips on how to keep your pet from panicking this Fourth of July weekend.
1. Keep Pets Indoors
Many dogs react badly to the loud and unpredictable sound of fireworks, and some simply run away in a panic. The best way to keep your dog safe is to keep him or her safely at home, away from the heat, the crowds, and of course, the noise of fireworks. Even at home, an anxious dog may make a break for it and run after being frightened by the noise of fireworks. Make sure the windows and doors are secure (pets have been known to bolt through screens).
2. Keep Your Pet on a Leash
The safest place for your pet during the holiday is at home. Crowded and noisy places can stress out your pet and leave them anxious and seeking shelter. If you must take your pet out with you, make sure to keep them close to you on a tight leash. Insure the leash is secure and not likely to slip off if your dog does a mad dash towards shelter or away from a scary situation.
3. Have ID Tags
If your pet manages to break loose and become lost it will be impossible to find them and get them back without proper identification. Make sure your pet wears a collar with an ID Tag that has their name and your phone number clearly visible. Pet stores sell engraved tags, sometimes while you wait, and they are also available at vet offices. Your telephone number on a tag or collar makes it far easier to recover your dog quickly because it's easier for someone who finds your dog to call you right away.
You might also consider fitting your pet with microchip identification as these cannot be lost. It is also a good idea to have a recent picture of your pets in case you have to put up signs.
4. Tire Your Pet Out
The best way to keep your pets from getting anxious is to give them plenty of exercise before the festivities begin. Be sure to take your dog out for an extra-long walk, and spend some extra playtime with your kitties.The more tired a pet is, the calmer he or she will be in the evening when fireworks start.
5. Give Your Pet a Safe Place
Make sure your pet has a quiet safe place for when the fireworks start. If you are going out for the evening's festivities, make sure to set up your pet in a safe, comfortable, calming space, like a bedroom or a crate. Keep windows and doors closed to prevent any potential escape. Turn the TV or radio on to muffle some of the noise, even if you are staying in.
If your pet gets especially anxious try a calming remedy or Thunder shirt to keep them calm and relieve their anxiety. There are some very good natural calming remedies and sprays that you can even spray on your dog or cat's bed or blanket to help keep them calm.
6. Keep Pets Away from Sweets and Alcohol
Holiday celebrations usually mean lots of good food and drink, but most of these foods are not safe for your pet. Make sure to keep chocolate, sweets and alcohol away from your pet. If your pet drinks alcohol, even beer, they can become dangerously intoxicated, and in some severe cases, even die from respiratory failure.
7. Watch for BBQ and Safe Foods
If you are doing a lot of grilling this holiday, your dog may be looking to indulge in some of the goodies too, but feeding your dog table scraps should be done with care. Too much fatty meat can be a health hazard for dogs, but a bite or two of plain, cooked burger patty will be a welcome treat. Grilled vegetables are also a good choice. The important thing is that you know at all times what your pet is eating, so ask family and friends not to give Fido or Fluffy any treats you have not approved of. And while you're outside, keep pets away from the hot flames, BBQ utensils and insect repellent.
Remember, the best way to keep your pets safe over the holiday is to keep them at home, in an area they are comfortable with, and away from the festivities. But if you do have your pet with you, make sure to keep them calm and safe so that both of you can enjoy this glorious holiday, and the rest of the summer.