Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

We all love our pets but sometimes we don't realize how some things we take for granted can be very scary for our pets.

Fourth of July, like many holidays in other countries, are celebrated with fireworks from small to huge displays.  They all share something: LOUD noise.  Some of us aren't fond of fireworks' loud booming but for our dogs and cats it can be absolutely terrifying.  Their hearing is so much more sensitive than ours so it sounds even worse to them and most are scared out of their wits!

While some dogs may tolerate it more than others, those are probably the Sporting (or Gun Dogs) breeds that are trained from puppyhood to get accustomed to the sounds of guns going off so they're not startled during a hunt. For the majority of other pets the sounds are unexpected, painful and scary.

What can you do? First, keep your pets indoors and be sure there's no means of escape.  Many dogs and cats get frightened, run off and are either hit by cars or land in a shelter if they're found. Keep you pets safe and be sure they're microchipped, the microchip is registered and that they also have a tag so you can be reunited with your pet.  There free tags if price is an object. One such place is  They will do a simple tag and that's all you really need. 
This isn't just for dogs, this is for your cat as well. 

And your cat should be wearing a durable, breakaway collar.  Your dog, too, needs either a collar or a harness.                             

It's entirely possible to encourage a conditioned response in your pet.  You can find a recording of fireworks or thunder to help acclimate you pet to the sounds, slowly, and then building on it.

Another thing that's often helpful is a Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap. It snugly fits your pet and makes him feel safe. It works in the short term, not the long term but can be helpful when used for fireworks displays.  

Taking your pet along to fireworks displays is not a very good idea.

Your cat may disappear within the house.  Cats and small dogs are frequently found in the bathroom, hiding behind the toilet. There may be something about plumbing that makes this feel safe, perhaps it mitigates the sound.

Another thing you might try is playing with your dog or cat to distract him. Sometimes just being "normal" can work wonders and reward that calm behavior with a treat.

If you're having a party, be sure food and decorations are out of the way of curious pets.  And all of that commotion may be too much for your pet. In that case, confine your pet to one room with a TV or Radio for company but NOT tuned to a channel covering the 4th of July celebrations!  

With a little careful planning, you can make the holiday tolerable for pets.


Chris Davis said...

Thanks for the great tips, Darlene. The fireworks used to terrify my dog, Jake, and - yes - he often curled up in the bathroom!

rescuegal said...

Good article, Darlene with lots of great advice about a very scary time for many of our pets. Hopefully it will be a safe and at least tolerable weekend for all our four legged companions.

Rafael said...

This is gorgeous!