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Paws-itively Terrified: How to help your pet survive the 4th of July

Jul 3, 2024, 3:37 PM | Updated: 8:34 pm

Paws-itively Terrified: How to help your pet survive the 4th of July

The most patriotic day of the year can be a nightmare for many pets.

The loud booms and lights from fireworks and firecrackers can make pets frightened, anxious and possibly destructive.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, Fireworks, picnics and other Fourth of July traditions can be great fun for people. But all the festivities can be frightening and even dangerous for animals. Noisy fireworks and other celebrations can startle animals and cause them to run away; holiday foods can be unhealthy; summer heat and travel can be dangerous; and potentially dangerous debris can end up lying on the ground where pets can eat or play with it.

However, there are some ways to keep your pet calm and safe during Independence Day celebrations.

  • Keep pets indoors at home in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure you’ve removed any fragile items.
  • Find a pet sitter if you’re spending the day away from home.
  • Provide a safe place. Pets may seek out a small den-like place, such as a crate if they are fearful or stressed. Create a safe place and familiarize your pet with the area before needed to reduce stress during fireworks.
  • License and  microchip your pet. If for some reason your pet escapes, make sure your pet is licensed and microchipped. Having identification will increase the likelihood that your pet will be returned to you if lost.
  • If your pets are microchipped, make sure your contact information in the microchip registry is up to date.
  • Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly.
  • Use a leash or carrier when transporting your pet. If you must be outside with your pet, keep the pet on a leash or in a carrier.
  • Talk to your veterinarian if you know your dog has anxiety.
  • Keep sparklers, glow sticks, charcoal, food scraps and kabob skewers away from curious pets.
  • Animals found running at-large should be taken to your local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.
  • Take a current photo of all of your cats, dogs and horses—just in case.
  • If your pet has historically been anxious on this holiday, or if you have reason to expect potentially harmful reactions, consider behavioral therapy to desensitize your pet and reduce the risk of problems. Some pets may need medication. Consult your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist.

Safety during July 4 celebrations:

  • Leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades and other gatherings. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there’s great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.
  • Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.
  • Keep horses and livestock in safely fenced areas and as far from the excitement and noise as possible.
  • If you’re hosting guests, ask them to help keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t escape. Placing notes on exit doors and gates can help both you and your guests remain vigilant.
  • Keep your pets inside if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks.
  • Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewers away from curious pets.
  • Don’t let pets get near your barbecue grill while it is in use or still hot.
  • Avoid the urge to feed your pets table scraps or other foods intended for people. Be especially careful to keep them away from these common foods that are actually toxic.
  • Remember that too much sun and heat (and humidity!) can be dangerous to pets. Keep them inside when it’s extremely hot/humid, and make sure they have access to shady spots and plenty of water when outdoors. Don’t leave pets outside for extended periods in hot weather. And know the signs that a pet may be overheating.
  • Never leave your pet in your car when it’s warm outside. Vehicle interiors heat up much faster than the air around them, and even a short time in a locked car can be dangerous to pets.
  • If you’re travelling out of town for the holiday, consider leaving your pets at home with a pet sitter or boarding them in a kennel. If you need to bring them with you, be sure you know how to keep them safe.
  • Follow safe food handling and hygiene practices to protect your family and guests.

After the celebrations:

  • Check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing pets outside to play or relax. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, debris can make its way into your yard, where curious animals may pick it up to play with or eat.
  • Check your pastures and remove debris to protect horses and livestock.
  • If you hosted guests, check both your yard and home for food scraps or other debris that might be dangerous to pets, such as food skewers.

The loud booms and lights from fireworks and firecrackers can make pets frightened, anxious and possibly destructive.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, Fireworks, picnics and other Fourth of July traditions can be great fun for people. But all the festivities can be frightening and even dangerous for animals. Noisy fireworks and other celebrations can startle animals and cause them to run away; holiday foods can be unhealthy; summer heat and travel can be dangerous; and potentially dangerous debris can end up lying on the ground where pets can eat or play with it.

However, there are some ways to keep your pet calm and safe during Independence Day celebrations.

  • Keep pets indoors at home in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure you’ve removed any fragile items.
  • Find a pet sitter if you’re spending the day away from home.
  • Provide a safe place. Pets may seek out a small den-like place, such as a crate if they are fearful or stressed. Create a safe place and familiarize your pet with the area before needed to reduce stress during fireworks.
  • License and  microchip your pet. If for some reason your pet escapes, make sure your pet is licensed and microchipped. Having identification will increase the likelihood that your pet will be returned to you if lost.
  • If your pets are microchipped, make sure your contact information in the microchip registry is up to date.
  • Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly.
  • Use a leash or carrier when transporting your pet. If you must be outside with your pet, keep the pet on a leash or in a carrier.
  • Talk to your veterinarian if you know your dog has anxiety.
  • Keep sparklers, glow sticks, charcoal, food scraps and kabob skewers away from curious pets.
  • Animals found running at-large should be taken to your local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.
  • Take a current photo of all of your cats, dogs and horses—just in case.
  • If your pet has historically been anxious on this holiday, or if you have reason to expect potentially harmful reactions, consider behavioral therapy to desensitize your pet and reduce the risk of problems. Some pets may need medication. Consult your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist.

Safety during July 4 celebrations:

  • Leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades and other gatherings. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there’s great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.
  • Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.
  • Keep horses and livestock in safely fenced areas and as far from the excitement and noise as possible.
  • If you’re hosting guests, ask them to help keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t escape. Placing notes on exit doors and gates can help both you and your guests remain vigilant.
  • Keep your pets inside if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks.
  • Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewers away from curious pets.
  • Don’t let pets get near your barbecue grill while it is in use or still hot.
  • Avoid the urge to feed your pets table scraps or other foods intended for people. Be especially careful to keep them away from these common foods that are actually toxic.
  • Remember that too much sun and heat (and humidity!) can be dangerous to pets. Keep them inside when it’s extremely hot/humid, and make sure they have access to shady spots and plenty of water when outdoors. Don’t leave pets outside for extended periods in hot weather. And know the signs that a pet may be overheating.
  • Never leave your pet in your car when it’s warm outside. Vehicle interiors heat up much faster than the air around them, and even a short time in a locked car can be dangerous to pets.
  • If you’re travelling out of town for the holiday, consider leaving your pets at home with a pet sitter or boarding them in a kennel. If you need to bring them with you, be sure you know how to keep them safe.
  • Follow safe food handling and hygiene practices to protect your family and guests.

After the celebrations:

  • Check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing pets outside to play or relax. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, debris can make its way into your yard, where curious animals may pick it up to play with or eat.
  • Check your pastures and remove debris to protect horses and livestock.
  • If you hosted guests, check both your yard and home for food scraps or other debris that might be dangerous to pets, such as food skewers.

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Paws-itively Terrified: How to help your pet survive the 4th of July