Fourth of July Survival Guide
June 18, 2018
Fourth of July is coming up! While this is a fun summer holiday for us, for some pets it can be very scary. Here are some tips to keep your noise-sensitive pet safe during the festivities.
- The noise and crowds of public fireworks displays can spook pets, even those who normally aren’t bothered by noises. Leave your pet at home.
- Even the legal, less noisy and safer fireworks such as sparklers can be very scary for pets. When you are using them, leave your pet indoors. Always keep your pet away from anything explosive like firecrackers or bottle rockets.
- Cats are less commonly noise sensitive than dogs, but those who are typically want to hide. Provide extra hiding places such as boxes or “blanket forts” in your cat’s favorite rooms so they have somewhere to retreat to.
- If possible, bring outdoor cats indoors before nightfall. If your outdoor cat doesn’t show up before the fireworks begin, provide some hiding places around your yard: Leave your garage door open a crack or leave a few boxes or other hideaways in your yard. Check doors frequently to see if they want to come in. Make sure any pet doors are in good working order.
- In case pets panic and run off, make sure they are wearing an identification tag and their microchip information is up to date.
- Even if you have a fence, consider taking your dog outside on a leash and well-fitted collar or harness for potty breaks. When panicked, dogs can get over surprisingly high fences.
- For pets with very mild noise sensitivity, providing a calm safe environment may be all they need. Allow them access to their normal crate or bed, play some calming music or white noise, and consider a pheromone diffuser, spray, or collar (Adaptil for dogs or Feliway for cats). For some pets, a thundershirt or similar snug-fitting shirt or coat may help. Calming supplements such as Zylkene or Solliquin are also options.
- For pets with moderate to severe noise sensitivity, I highly recommend using anti-anxiety medication in addition to the above measures. Moderate to severe noise sensitivity tends to get worse year after year if not treated. We have many safe and effective options for pets of all ages, please call the clinic for more information.
- You cannot “reward” emotions, so it is ok to comfort your pet. However, it IS possible to reward behaviors, so be cautious how and when you comfort. For example, if your pet is lying next to you on the couch trembling, you won’t do any harm by petting them, putting an arm around them, or speaking reassuringly. If they are wildly scratching at you, you can accidentally reinforce that specific behavior; wait until the behavior is finished and then provide some comfort.
- If you are having a party, either set your pet up in a secure, safe room your guests do not have access to or make sure everyone is aware to keep pets indoors and not feed party food without asking.
The Fourth of July doesn’t have to be scary! A little forethought can help keep your pets safe so you can relax and enjoy yourself. As usual, please call the clinic and speak to one of our doctors or technicians if you have any questions.
Karen Christopherson DVM