July 4th Safety Tips for Your Pet

July 4th Safety Tips for Your Pet

Keep Your Pets Safe and Calm During Fireworks: Fear Free Tips for the 4th of July


While the Fourth of July is a time for celebration and dazzling fireworks displays for humans, it can be a source of fear and anxiety for many pets. Veterinarians often see a spike in visits around this time as pet owners seek help for their stressed animals. Ensuring your pet's safety and comfort during fireworks is crucial for their well-being.

As a pet owner, I watch my little Walker Hound, Ginger, tremble from the first pop of neighborhood firecrackers to the last crescendo of the community fireworks display. Noise like this can send dogs into a frenzy. As a petsitter, I've even been hired to drive a frightened downtown client’s dog around in my car with the radio turned up until the nighttime celebrations were over. As a Fear Free Professional, I am deeply concerned about our pets' emotional and physical well-being.

Preparation Tips:

  • Exercise: Give your dog plenty of exercise earlier in the day to help them burn off energy.
  • Safe Space: Provide a safe, den-like place inside for your dogs to retreat, such as a crate.  If your fearful, upset dog finds a hiding spot - don’t try to pull him out from it. A frightened dog can bite if it feels cornered.  Instead, gently lure him/her out with a treat.
  • ACE Free Work:  an enrichment activity with lickimats, snuffle mats, food puzzles, and treat stations is a wonderful way to calm your pet before the noise begins.
  • Reassurance:  if your pet comes to you for attention, calm them with petting or a gentle massage.  

Pre-Fireworks Care:

  • ID Tags: Ensure your dog is wearing ID tags in case they escape.
  • Vet Consultation: In serious cases, talk to your vet about medications that may help.
  • Party Precautions: If you're hosting a party, keep dogs away from the grill, alcohol, and unsafe foods (chocolate, xylitol, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, onions, avocado, and bread dough).
  • Hazardous Decor: Keep pets away from decor that could cause harm if swallowed, such as shiny or colorful wrappers, sparklers, and glow sticks.

During the Fireworks:

  • Stay Inside: Keep your pets indoors with you and don't leave them alone.  Shelters fill up with lost dogs that are spooked and escape from their yard. Remember that our local shelters are at capacity. Do not take your dog with you to a fireworks display.  
  • Close Windows and Curtains: This helps to muffle the sound and block out the flashes of light.
  • Lighten up:  Turn on the indoor lights to decrease the contrast of light changes.
  • Fun Distractions: Give your dog something fun to do, like a frozen treat-filled peanut butter Kong.
  • Soothing Tools: Consider using compression wraps or garments like a Thundershirt.
  • Calming  Pheromones: Products like Adaptil collars and diffusers for dogs and Feliway for cats can help some pets relax.
  • Background Noise: Use fans, white noise machines, audio books, music designed for pets, or leave the TV on.

Conclusion: By taking these steps, you can help ensure that both you and your pet have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July. Remember to stay safe, have fun, and take good care of your pet! Happy 4th of July!