More pets in the United States end up lost in shelters after the 4th of July than on any other day of the year! The loud booms and bangs from fireworks are scary for veterans, wildlife, and our pets. Check out these tips on how to make the best of this very loud holiday with your pet:
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Comfort your pet! It is okay to comfort your pet if they are scared. Fear is an emotion, not a behavior. Comforting your pet is totally appropriate and will only help them, not make them more fearful.
Get Current Identification! Make sure your pet is wearing current ID and is microchipped. Check your microchip registration to make sure it includes your current phone number and address. Take some current photos of your pet, just in case. Learn which animal shelter takes in stray pets for your area.
Keep your pets inside! Secure the windows and doors. Draw the curtains. Fireworks are very loud and they can cause even the most normally calm pet to take off running. Create a safe space in your house where your pet can hide once the fireworks start (animals might otherwise hide under beds, in closets, or even bathtubs!). Use a sound machine or calm music to provide sound cover from the fireworks. You can also try engaging them in play or chew treats to get their mind off being scared. Try a Thundershirt on your pet if they seem to get comfort from you holding them!
Be proactive! If your pet has already shown extreme stress in other situations with loud noises like vacuums, trash collectors, or lawnmowers – plan to stay home with your pet. Pets with extreme fears are more likely to injure themselves trying to get away from whatever is scaring them. Dogs have been known to break out of crates, windows, and doors in an effort to flee in fear. Talk with your veterinarian about possible behavioral medication options that may help your pet be more comfortable during fireworks (avoid Acepromazine – read here and here for why!). Find a force-free dog trainer that can help you teach your pet how to be more comfortable through counterconditioning.