Fireworks: Your Pet’s Least Favorite Holiday Event

Did you know that July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters?

While the excitement and fun of parties, get-togethers and firework spectaculars are great ways for us to celebrate the 4th of July, our pets beg to differ. In fact, it’s a good bet that most of our pets would be thrilled never to have to hear the rocket’s red glare or the bombs bursting in air ever again. If only everywhere used silent fireworks like the Italian town of Collecchio!

Fireworks are so stressful for many pets that they panic and try to escape what, to them, may seem like the end of the world. Unfortunately, when this happens, they often end up lost…and at an animal shelter.

What’s a pet owner to do? There are several ways to alleviate the stress of fireworks displays (and holiday celebrations, in general) and lessen the likelihood your pet could end up lost and/or traumatized.

  1. Safe Spaces: Creating a “safe zone” in your home for your pets can help them feel secure when potentially frightening noises begin. Begin your preparations early: if your pet has a room s/he likes to spend time in, consider making it off-limits for any guests you may have and ensuring all the exits (doors and windows) are firmly and securely latched during festivities. Put your pet’s favorite bed and toys in the room, and make sure food and water are accessible.  If your pet has a habit of trying to escape from stressful situations, you may be best served finding a room with no windows at all to prevent breakage, injury and escape. If you can play music or run a television to dampen the noise of fireworks, that may help, too.
  2. Exercise and Walk Early: Make sure you take your dog out for his/her walk early, before festivities begin. If you have a cat that’s indoor/outdoor, make sure you bring him/her inside early, as well.
  3. Keep Pets at Home: While it may seem obvious, we can’t overstate this: do NOT take your pets to the holiday festivities! It may seem like a great bonding experience to have your dog with you for the fun and fireworks, but that isn’t how your dog will feel once the fireworks start. Even the best-behaved pooch can forget his/her manners and training and run in fear.
  4. Consider Calming Medication: There are several prescription medications that can take the edge off your pet’s anxiety. If you know ahead of time that your pet will be stressed by the festivities, talk to your veterinarian. Don’t let these medications lull you into a false sense of security, though. A medicated pet should stay home in a safe space!
  5. Update ID Tags and Microchip Information: Sometimes even the best-laid plans can be foiled. In the event the worst happens and your pet is lost, it helps his/her chances of returning to you enormously if s/he is wearing current identification and has a registered microchip. In fact, a registered microchip with current contact information increases your cat’s chances of being returned to you from 2% (without a chip) to 40% (with a chip).

Of course, safety measures aren’t only about keeping your pet from getting lost during the chaos of the holiday. Stress from loud, scary noises can exacerbate behavioral issues, heart problems and much more. So, while you’re planning your holiday fun, don’t forget to plan for your pet’s happy (safe) holiday, too!

Questions? Give us a call or fill out our form to request an appointment with a doctor.