iStock_000013207696_SmallIndependence Day – to you it’s a day to celebrate. It’s a day of grilling, parties, and of course, fireworks. However, for your pets,  the Fourth of July is a day of anxiety and fear.

What Makes Pets Fearful of Fireworks?

Loud Noises – Your pet has sensitive ears, even your cat. Loud noises can cause great anxiety for a pet that isn’t used to it. Those loud noises, and the fear it gives them, can cause him or her to run away.

Flashing Lights – Sudden flashes of light can also scare your pet. They don’t understand things the way we do, and they may not comprehend that flash as something not to be afraid of. It can also hurt their eyes.

Smells – Your pet has a nose that works much better than yours. This means that a smell that is strong to you, like the sulfur smell from fireworks, will be overpowering to him or her.

Plus, if your pet happens to step on, or eat, a leftover piece of a firework he or she could get hurt. From a painful burn, to a terrible tummy ache – pets can be at risk when you include them in this time of celebration.

Fourth of July Pet Safety

While it may be difficult for pets to enjoy the Fourth of July, here are a few tips to help your four-legged friends cope with the holiday:

  • Leave them at home – If you are going out to see the fireworks, or going to a party, leave your pet at home. Not only does this ensure they don’t have extra anxiety around all the people and the noise, it also ensures that you don’t end up needing to leave them in your vehicle if they aren’t welcome. Pets should never be left in the car when it is warm out, no matter how little time. When it’s 70 degrees outside, it can be over 90 in your vehicle, and your dog could suffer from heat stroke.
  • Make them comfortable – Whether you’re going out, or staying home and inviting over friends, leave your pet in comfort. Turn on some calming music, or the television, to help alleviate some of the noise they will hear. If you have company that will be coming in and out of the house, keep your pet in a room with the door shut and some of their favorite toys or bedding. This keeps them from sneaking out the front door when people are entering or exiting.
  • Reduce the anxiety – products such as Thundershirt and other Thunder products are excellent at helping most pets feel more secure and less anxious. Thundershirt helps more than 80% of pets feel less anxious. For pets with more extreme anxiety, talk to us about the possibility of a prescription sedative to help him or her stay calm.
  • Make sure they have identification – Whether or not your pet is at home and in a safe place, make sure they are wearing some sort of identification (a tag, if they don’t have a microchip). This way, if someone does accidentally let your pet out and they run away in fear of the noise, anyone who finds your pet will know who he or she belongs to.

What To Do If Your Pet Escapes

The day after the Fourth of July is the busiest day for animal shelters. Help them out by keeping your pet safely at home. If your pet does run away, here are some tips to help you find him or her.

  • Immediately check with your local animal control agency first, and contact us.
  • Put up flyers around your area with a photo and detailed description of your missing pet, and post ads online. Facebook and Craigslist are great places.
  • Posting your pet’s photo and information with organizations such as Lost Dogs Illinois can help reunite a lost dog with his or her owner. Also post your dog’s photo on their Facebook page (or cat’s photo on Lost Cats Illinois) and post to their other social media to get the word out quickly.
  • Share your online post to local shelters and veterinarians in the area where your pet was lost.
  • Drive around your neighborhood, and look carefully. Also check with your neighbors.

The Fourth of July holiday doesn’t have to be a dramatic event for your pet if you just make sure to keep him or her safe. If your pet has really bad anxiety, talk to us about possibly using a tranquilizer to help him or her get through this stressful holiday.