July 4th: How to keep your pets safe during fireworks

Fireworks on July 4 are part of the holiday celebration but the sounds of them going off can be unsettling for humans and pets.

Many animals are scared by fireworks, and pet owners may find their pets struggling to cope, either by freezing or running away.

At least 40% of dogs have fears of noises like thunderstorms, vacuums, and hair dryers. According to CNN, those kinds of noises are normal but fireworks aren’t. They can be unexpected and happen sporadically.

“Many animals associate loud noises with danger,” Dr. Michelle Lugones, a veterinarian with Best Friends Animal Society, told CNN. “From an evolutionary standpoint, they are wired to avoid perceived threats, so it’s not surprising that fireworks are distressing to many animals.”

Cats, and other domestic and wild animals just like dogs have sensitive hearing too, according to CNN.

“It’s very likely that cats suffer just as much from fireworks phobia as dogs,” Lugones told CNN. “But since cats tend to be more independent in the home and usually run and hide during fearful situations, their owners may just not realize that they are distressed from fireworks.”

Prevention is one way to help your pets. Start preparing before it gets dark on July 4. Give them exercise in the late afternoon, and find ways to distract your pet. You should stay calm as well.

The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that you have a current photo of your pet in case anything happens and make sure your pet is in a safe and secure area. Microchipping your pet is also a good option in preparation.

A few tips

Here are a few tips for keeping your pets safe this Fourth of July, according to the Humane Society of the United States:

  • Loud noises, strong smells, and flashing lights are some of the things that pets are sensitive to. It is recommended to keep your pets indoors during the fireworks. Put on the radio or something on TV.
  • If your pet is scared of fireworks, contact your vet. They may be able to provide medications and some techniques to help.
  • Protect your pet from heat stroke. Keep an eye on your pet. Do not leave them in a parked car and beware that pavement can get very hot.
  • Make sure your pet has a collar on or an ID tag in case they end up running away or getting lost.

Pet brand company, Chewy, has a few suggestions to help your pet:

  • Give your pet a Kong with frozen peanut butter inside it.
  • Tire your pet out ahead of time either by having a few play sessions during the day with their favorite toy or by going on an adventure if the weather permits.
  • Try giving your pet over-the-counter calming treats. Your veterinarian may have some recommendations.
  • Thundershirts. This product is a compression shirt for dogs and cats that can be like swaddling for a human baby. It’s something you may want to have ahead of time to get your pet used to it.
  • Be understanding with your pet.
  • Build a playlist that is filled with soothing music to reduce anxiety.

During fireworks, the American Veterinary Medical Association suggests keeping your pet with you, and avoid sparklers, glow sticks, charcoal, kabob skewers, and the grill.

Keep your animals away from fireworks. Pets can be burned or blinded by them, Best Friends Animal Society said, according to CNN.

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