Bang! Pop! Screeeeech! Boom! While you, your friends, and family enjoy the July 4th festivities, please don’t forget about keeping your furry friends safe and calm.

People ooh and ahh at fireworks, but unexpected loud noises tend to have the opposite effect on us pets. Dogs who are afraid of fireworks can dig under or jump over fences, break tethers or even shatter windows in response. Cats associate loud noises with danger, so they can become very stressed on Independence Day.

 scared dogThe noises and flashes can cause dogs and cats to run off in a panic. That’s why more pets go missing on July 4th than on any other day of the year. Shelters are on high alert for pets who have run away from fireworks noises and can’t find their way back home. It’s dangerous for pets to be running scared in the dark. Every year pets are involved in road accidents after being spooked by fireworks.

 The best thing you can do for your scaredy cat (or dog) is to make the day as un-July 4th-like as possible. Even if your pet has never been stressed by loud noises, don’t leave them outside and unattended on this holiday. Just in case (for this day and every day), make sure that your pets are microchipped (available through our low cost community veterinary services program) and have a secure collar with identification.

If your pet does go missing, check the neighborhood (especially places where they may be hiding such as under decks, in garages, etc), call us to make a report, and post information about your missing pet on platforms such as Nextdoor and Facebook. 

hiding cat

This may seem obvious, but always keep pets away from fireworks (including in your own backyard). Some will chase after the bright moving objects and are at risk of being burned or blinded in the process.  Fireworks also contain substances that are toxic if ingested, so be sure to keep unlit fireworks out of reach, too.

When you have your pet safe in the house, close the curtains to block out the flashes of light. You can also turn on some music, the television, or a fan to drown out the noise. You might encourage your pet to seek the comfort of a dark and quiet space in the house such as a closet or basement.

If your pet has a history of severe anxiety (of the launching through windows or crawling up the walls kind), you might check with your vet about a mild sedative. You could also try “Rescue Remedy” (a natural flower essence that works well on anxious pets and is available at most health food markets) or pet CBD calming products. There are also products like Thunder Shirts that help pets with anxious situations.

comfortingAnother tip to try is to attempt distracting your pet in a positive and playful manner, but don’t overdo it. Like a pet’s fear reaction to thunder, offering too much comfort can increase your pet’s anxiety. Maintain a positive mood while comforting a scared and anxious pet. Sometimes it’s best to just let him or her hide under the bed or in the basement. Check on them periodically, but don’t make too much of a fuss. They’ll come out when the kabooms stop.   

Trey2My name is Trey. I’m a handsome 1-year-old Labrador mix. I have plenty of energy, and l want to please my people. I love walks, and I’m very well-mannered on a leash. I prefer to make friends with female dogs.