While the Fourth of July brings fond traditions like picnics, barbecues, concerts, and fireworks, it isn’t such a fun holiday for the four-legged members of the family.
Many animals are extremely frightened by the noise from firecrackers and can even be stressed by the sight of fireworks. This leads to a 30-60% increase in lost pets every year between July 4 and July 6. July 5th is typically the busiest day of the year in humane societies and shelters across the country as people try to find their lost and scared pets. But don’t forget that fireworks and firecrackers don’t just happen on July 4th. They are already happening as people build up to the big celebration.
So what can you do to make things less stressful for your pets?
- Make a safe space for them in your home where they can retreat and hide but where they can’t easily escape. Even the most mild-mannered dog might panic and claw their way out of a crate or run through a glass window or a fence in their panicked state and can run away and be lost or hit by cars.
- Playing calming music in the area can help block out some of the noise from outside and keeping curtains closed helps block out the flashes of light from fireworks.
- If your dog or cat is pacing, cowering, hiding, or displaying nervous behavior, try to distract them with a favorite bone or toy but don’t distress them further.
- Consider skipping leaving home to go to the big celebration and stay home with your pets to protect and comfort them during this traumatic time.
- Above all else, make sure that if something does happen you have the best shot of getting your pet returned to you by following these suggestions:
- Make sure your pets are wearing their collars and that they are secure and have up-to-date ID tags on them with your name and contact info readable.
- Add a GPS tracker to your pet’s collar to make it easier to track and reunite with your pet if they should escape.
- For extra security, get your pet microchipped. Pets are little magicians and can get out of their collars on the best of days much less when they are panicked or stressed by the sights and sounds of fireworks. Getting your pet microchipped gives an added layer of protection that if they escape and make it to a shelter, they can be scanned and reunited with you. Make sure your contact information for the microchip registration is up to date.
There’s a reason that July is considered “Pet Loss Prevention Month” and by using a few common sense tips you can keep your pets happier and safer during this and other holidays.