Fireworks and other staples of the Fourth of July can pose a threat to pets. Many pets cower, quiver, behave frantically or become destructive in response to noise trauma. Fireworks, garbage trucks, thunder storms and other problems need behavior modification. Pet owners can temporarily address these problems quickly with a few July 4th pet precautions.
It amazes me that people don’t actually know that they can reduce their pet’s anxiety or stress during the 4th of July weekend. I always hope that there will be motivation to change behaviors prior to the holiday–but no such luck.
Good Samaritans who find animals and take them to the shelters are a blessing to those who lose animals–but there are preparations you can take prior to the holiday to prevent stress and to keep animals safe.
I’ve known of animals that have defecated in fear throughout their homes, others that have bolted through windows or escaped, and heard of some escapees that ran to their death on the roadway.
All of these are preventable. Below are some tips but you can also find previous press releases on the topic for safe and sane pets during July 4th or July 4th pet safety tips. Feel free to reprint and share–just please include a back link.
The biggest mistake pet lovers need to avoid is comforting the pet, although done with good intentions, petting and coddling can actually reinforce the fear and panic.
Voice communication does not reinforce the fear like cuddling, petting, holding, and trying to physically relieve the stress does…use that as an option if you can’t refrain from trying to sooth your pet.
The age of your pet, socialization, experience, and breed can also influence their reactions. Animals with an established history of problems will likely worsen. Elderly animals may get better simply because they lose their hearing.
There are ways to work through noise phobia exhibited before earthquakes, during thunderstorms and throughout firework displays, but it takes time and preplanning. In the meantime use some quick tips and tools to address the problem behavior, which escalates annually during the Fourth of July holiday.
July 4th Pet Tips
- Keep your animals inside during July 4th and for a few days to a week prior to the holiday.
- Make sure you have a tag with current information on your pet during this time.
- If you take your animal outside for toileting or any other activity, make sure they are under physical restraint via a collar and leash.
- Leave your pets safely at home instead of taking them to picnics or other holiday events.
- Play music or turn on a radio station with soothing music to help mask outside noises.
- Buy a plug-in Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) dispenser. This permeates the air with a calming scent and reduces fear and anxiety.
- Keep your pet busy with activities or chew items before the height of noise making occurs.
- Visit your veterinary medical professional and ask for melatonin. This oral neurohormone often provides help for sensitive animals. Use with the veterinarians dosage recommendation and don’t try to do it yourself.
- Flower remedies work on an energetic level. Five Flower® or Rescue Remedy® mixes may help reduce your pets anxiety.
- Create a safe haven. If your animal is habituated to a crate you may want to provide confinement for security. Other options you may have available include the bathroom, laundry room, garage, basement, or any other “den” area. The room to choose is one where there are no windows to jump through, or where windows can be blocked off and that are too high and narrow to access.
- Some animals want to hide and will feel safe in a favorite spot, like under the bed. You can create sleeping bag tunnel or similar option for them.
- Plan a party and play at home instead of participating in other events. Making new traditions can be fun and helpful for your pet.
- Consider boarding your pet at a professional kennel for the holiday.
Always check with your veterinarian or behavior specialist before using any drugs or tranquilizers on your pet.
Finally, be alert if you have guests at home–since an open door can provide an opportunity for animals to bolt outside.