The ‘F’ Word: Fireworks And Pet Safety

July 4 may be a time when humans get together, have picnics then watch the fireworks. We may oohh and aahhh, but for our pets, fireworks are terrifying. It’s also unfortunate that during the summer months, it seems that fireworks are no longer relegated to July 4; many pet parents report fireworks being set off in their neighborhoods throughout the summer.

When it comes to keeping your pets calm and safe you need to check your own vibe. If you’re calm, your dog or cat will be calmer.  Our dogs and cats are empathetic to our moods and if you’re nervous, they will be nervous. You may need to take your pets and go some place where you can’t hear, or be stressed out by, the fireworks.

The ‘F’ Word: Fireworks And Pet Safety

Here are some ways to help your pet safely deal with the upcoming July 4th fireworks:

  1. Give them their favorite puzzle food game or a slow feeder to distract them.
  2. Make sure they have a comfy place to go and hide if they want to. Many dogs love their crates and will go there when they are nervous. If your dog doesn’t like a crate or kennel, put his blanket or one of your shirts with your scent on it in a closet and let him burrow in there until the fireworks have ended. If your dog hides under the bed, let him. You can sit next to the bed and talk calmly to him, but don’t force him to come out – that is his safe space, for now.
  3. Play a game. Grab their favorite toy or chew and distract them by playing.
  4. Close the windows and curtains to block out the noise and sight of the fireworks displays.
  5. Turn on white noise like an air conditioner or a fan.
  6. Play music or turn on the television to help block the fireworks noise.
  7. Use a Thundershirt as a calming “agent.” I recommend putting the Thundershirt on your dog prior to the fireworks. Get him accustomed to wearing the Thundershirt before he needs it for its calming effects.
  8. Exercise your dog before the sun goes down. A rousing game of fetch or a long walk or run will help tire her out and she may sleep during the fireworks.
  9. Cats can be distracted by the sounds of the fireworks by giving them a catnip toy or sprinkling some catnip on their bed or cat tree.
  10. Exercise your cats, too. Grab that feather toy or laser pointer and tire them out. They may snuggle into their beds and snooze right through the fireworks, too.
  11. If your cat wears a collar with a tag and your contact information, make sure it’s a breakaway collar. Also, make sure your contact information is up to date. If your cat wears a collar, take it off and spray it with lavender oil – it’s a calming agent.
  12. Keep your pets home and away from the crowds during the fireworks.
  13. Keep your pets away from doors. If you will have guests at your house for the fireworks, put your pets in a room and close the door so there is no chance of them bolting out the door. Let your guests know the pets are in the bedroom and to please leave the door closed.
  14. If you’re going to watch the fireworks and know your pets will be anxious because they will be home alone, ask a friend or family member (or hire a pet sitter) to stay with them while you’re away.
  15. Earth Animal “no-hide” chews are great and healthy and safe for keeping your dog occupied during the fireworks — or other times of the year when they are stressed. Their Zen Pen is also an ideal way to help your pet when he is stressed — it works for cats and dogs.

Only 14% of pets who get lost during fireworks find their way home. Even If your dog or cat is microchipped, they should wear a collar with a tag and your contact information; make it easy for someone to contact you if your dog or cat gets loose.

Enjoy the Fourth of July holiday with your friends, family and your fur-babies, but do so safely.

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