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More lost pets enter county shelters after July 4th than any other day of the year. Don’t let your pet become a statistic.

This American tradition is an exciting and fun way to celebrate Independence Day but, not surprisingly, our pets don’t typically feel the same.

Firework displays are loud and unexpected, causing stress and anxiety in most pets. Their acute hearing makes them more sensitive to the booms and flashing lights, and the odor fireworks give off contribute to the confusion.

You may think to yourself, “my pet isn’t concerned about thunderstorms so fireworks won’t bother them either.” But unlike thunderstorms*, fireworks come out of nowhere for dogs. They can pick up on weather changes prior to thunderstorms, but with fireworks, there is no way to anticipate what’s to come.

So, what can you do to minimize your pet’s stress?
  • First, leave him at home. Unexpected fright can trigger a flight or fight reaction, causing a dog to bolt or slip out of their collar on the worst possible night. Leaving him at home ensures he is safe.
  • It is estimated that 25-50% of pets with microchips have outdated information linked to it. Make sure you know your pets microchip number and that all information on it is correct.
  • Consider walking your dog before dusk and then keeping music or a television on for white noise.
  • Choose an interior room without windows where outside noise is minimal for your pet.
  • A favorite treat or toy that evening can even help create a positive association with fireworks. Pro tip: Try freezing a Kong filled with peanut butter and treats to give them a long-lasting activity.
  • Many dogs are settled by “thundershirts” and calming wraps that help dogs feel secure. You can purchase these on Amazon.
  • Above all, stay calm yourself. It will impart a feeling of confidence for your pet.

Remember, Independence Day is about celebrating freedom and joy, and with a few thoughtful preparations, you can ensure that it’s a safe and enjoyable day for everyone in your family, including your four-legged friends. By taking these steps, you’ll help your pet navigate the holiday with ease, allowing you both to celebrate without worry. Happy Fourth of July!


*If your pet does find thunderstorms scary, check out our article on how to relieve storm anxiety in your dog.

June 17, 2024

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