For many of us, fireworks and celebrations go hand-in-hand; the thunderous booming and flashing lights can evoke feelings of excitement and nostalgia.
Our pets, on the other hand, may not have the same experience. Even for furry friends who don’t often deal with anxiety, fireworks can be an incredibly scary, stressful time—not to mention dangerous.
As the 4th of July approaches, it’s important to be mindful of our pets and their stress levels. It’s common for dogs and cats alike to feel anxious and panicked at the sound, sight, and smell of fireworks; some have even been known to run away due to distress. Read on for some tips to keep your pet safe during fireworks season.
Keep Your Pet Indoors
Even if the 4th of July fireworks show is your favorite time of year, it’s probably best if your pooch sits this one out. Fireworks shows can be crowded and loud, and not an ideal situation for pets. Instead, prioritize your pup’s comfort by leaving him at home.
If you absolutely must bring your dog to a fireworks show, be sure to keep him on a leash at all times. It also doesn’t hurt to come prepared with plenty of comforting treats, toys, and snuggles!
If your fireworks traditions involve a DIY show on the street or driveway, it’s a good idea to keep your dog secured in a room that doesn’t have any windows; a sound machine or calming music may also come in handy.
For daytime gatherings such as pre-fireworks barbeques, keep your pet secured inside or on a leash, especially if guests are streaming in and out the door. Keep in mind that if a scared pet isn’t able to escape the situation, their fear may turn into aggression. Make sure your dog has a safe space to retreat to in case he gets overwhelmed, such as a calming crate.
Cats tend to hide on their own if they feel stressed, but it’s still helpful to make sure your kitty is secured (especially if she’s an indoor cat), and has an accessible safe space to retreat to as well.
Use Collars and Microchips
Even if you plan on keeping your dog or cat inside during fireworks, you never know the lengths a panicked pet may go to in order to escape a stressful situation—this could include digging a way out underneath a fence, breaking through a window screen, or simply bolting out an open door.
Fireworks season is as good a time as any for your dog or cat to wear a collar with an ID tag. Additionally, make sure your pet is microchipped with up-to-date contact information.
Cater to Comfort
If there’s ever a time to splurge on comfort, it’s fireworks (and thunderstorm) season. Depending on the severity of your pet’s anxiety, you may want to consider investing in an anxiety vest. Otherwise, a snug t-shirt or blanket wrap could be sufficient for calming your cat or dog.
If you’re opting to secure your pet in a quiet-as-possible room, it definitely doesn’t hurt to provide plenty of comfy blankets, favorite toys, and treats.
Some pets may prefer to be alone during times of stress, but if you’re able to sit with your dog during or after the fireworks, it can be comforting to go through some familiar commands together… with plenty of treats and snuggles as a reward!
Ask About Medications
If your pet experiences severe anxiety, you may want to talk to your vet about medications that could provide some relief.
If approved, give your pet a “test dose” on a normal night so that you can monitor any potential side effects. After all, no one wants to deal with the stress of fireworks combined with a bad reaction to medication.
Don’t give your pet any more than the recommended dosage, no matter how much you think he needs the extra boost. Additionally, don’t share medications with any pets who haven’t been discussed with a vet.
Pet Honesty offers non-prescription Premium Hemp Calming Chews, which are made of delicious, non-sedative, natural ingredients to help soothe an anxious dog during stressful situations.
Clean Up the Aftermath
(And no, we’re not just talking about anxiety-induced bathroom incidents.)
Both dogs and cats tend to sniff and taste new things out of curiosity, and many fireworks contain toxic chemicals and metals. Whether fireworks took place at a nearby park or on your street or driveway, make sure the area is clear of fireworks debris before letting your pet outside or going for a walk the next day.
If you or your neighbors enjoy setting off leftover fireworks on the days following the 4th of July, be sure to continue the same protocols throughout the duration of the fireworks season to keep your furry friend as safe, calm, and comfortable as possible.