The 4th of July is full of fun and celebration for us but most of our pets would disagree. During festivities like cookouts, swimming, parades, bon fires and fireworks many pets get away from their owners. Making the 5th of July the busiest day of the year for rescue organizations and shelters, they fill up quickly with dogs and cats that have managed to get away from their owners. There are many things you can do to ensure your pets are safe, sound and comfortable.
It is important to place a well fitted collar on your pet to avoid them slipping out and escaping. It is recommended to leash walk pets so they are less likely to escape if they are suddenly startled by fireworks or sparklers. It is recommended to even leash walk pets who are well trained to ‘come when called’, are in an invisible fence or in a tangible fence as they could panic and escape (even if this isn’t typical behavior). It is important to warn guests that pets are inside so they do not slip out the door while visitors are in and out of the house. Do your best to keep cats indoors.
It is recommended to do their potty routine a bit early so that they can avoid going outside if necessary during firework displays.
Largely pets do not appreciate loud chaotic parades (especially ones that contain sirens) or attending firework shows, it is strongly recommended that you leave pets at home during these festivities. The safest place for your pet to be is at home and inside.
Giving pets a safe, quiet place to retreat during these activities such as their crate or a puppy proof room is the best option to keep everyone happy and healthy. To reduce noise it is preferred to choose the basement or an interior room for your pets hide out. Make cat trees, towers or boxes readily available for cats.
Some pets need multiple tools to help them relax and tolerate fireworks along with reconditioning. Other tricks to try are: including a low playing radio, and/or a white noise machine in the same room to help drown out some of the outside noise. Closing blinds and partially covering crates can keep pets from seeing the flashes and being startled. Giving pets lots of puzzle toys or food dispensing toys can help redirect pets and ease anxiety. Some pets benefit from wearing a Thundershirt during these stressful times, placing it prior to the stressful event is recommended. Some owners also add on pheromones such as Adaptil or Feliway as another defense to help reduce anxiety. Try to encourage pets to play their favorite game or give them their favorite treat to distract and encourage a healthy response to the loud noises. Pets do not need to be fearful, they can be conditioned to ignore them and relax with practice.
If pets get away, the quickest way to be reunited with them is to have proper identification tags on with current information listed. Another layer of protection is to have your pet microchipped and make sure the information associated is up to date.
Some pets need medication in addition to these other tools to help them cope. If this applies to your pet, contact your veterinarian and make sure you have proper refills prior to the holiday.