You may enjoy the fireworks on the Fourth of July, but there’s a good chance Fido and Fluffy do not.
“Even pets that are not usually sensitive to loud sounds and noise can become extremely stressed due to the sound of fireworks,” said John Howe, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
“It’s hard not to feel helpless when you see them shaking and panting and so obviously distressed,” he added.
With a little advance preparation, you can ease your pets’ anxiety and keep them calm. Here’s how:
- Try a workout. Take your dog(s) out for play and exercise earlier in the day. This can help burn off extra energy, limit their their anxiety later and help them rest more soundly.
- Update I.D. Make sure your pet has up-to-date identification tags and that their microchip has your correct contact information, because highly stressed pets may run off. Proper I.D. improves the chances that your pet will make it home safely if that occurs, Howe said.
- Give pets a safe space. Keep them indoors. Cats tend to feel most secure in a covered spot off the ground, like a hut in an indoor cat tree. For a dog, put its crate or bed in the quietest, most secure room possible. Keep windows and curtains closed to help muffle sounds. Try different things to see what works best for your dog, such as dimming lights or covering the crate with a blanket.
- Dress (your pet) for success. Some animals feel more secure in snug-fitting shirts designed for this purpose. Discuss options with your veterinarian.
- Provide soothing sounds. White noise, music or television can provide familiar sounds that drown out or muffle the sound of fireworks. Use toys or treats to distract your pet.
And, remember, you need to remain calm during fireworks, because your pets may react to your behavior. It’s also important not to overreact if your pet is distressed by fireworks.
The ASPCA has more on pets and fireworks.