Hotdogs, a game of volleyball, sunscreen and fireworks; must be the 4th of July! And while this year the picnics may be limited to just the immediate family, the fireworks will be just as dazzling and thunderous as years past! Fireworks are as American as baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet.
But as much as we love fireworks, the rockets red glare can send our pets into shear panic. More pets are lost on the 4th of July than any other time of the year. Here are some tips for making the celebration just a little less stressful for Fido and Kitty.
1. Ensure your pet is wearing an ID collar. If your pet is “chipped” make sure your contact information is current. These steps will greatly increase the chances of your pet making it back home in the event they panic and get lost.
2. Exercise your dog. Spend a little extra time earlier in the day exercising your pet. A long walk or jog, some extra time playing tug of war or fetch will go a long way with reducing anxiety later when the fireworks begin.
3. Feed your pet an early dinner and take your dog outside for their “evening constitutional” well before dark. If you must take your dog outside after the fireworks have started, keep your dog on a leash.
4. Create a “safe space” for your pet. Doors and windows should be closed, curtains drawn and blinds closed to minimize flashes of light and loud noises. Music, the television or even doing a load of laundry can help mask the sounds of fireworks.
5. Distracting activities can be helpful. A catnip toy for your cat or a “frozen” Kong filled with yogurt for your dog can keep your pet engaged for hours.
6. Consider purchasing or making a “pressure wrap” for your pet, especially if they suffer from severe anxiety. The Thundershirt website reports an 85% improvement in noise anxiety symptoms.
7. Have a current picture of your pet on hand in case your pet does panic and gets lost. Having a good photo will help when posting flyers, messages on social media sites and/or contacting local shelters.