The 4th of July is typically a time of fun, family, and friends. But for pets, the noise from fireworks can often lead to Houdini-like escapes, which often result in the pet's injury or even death. (Dogs have even been known to break through screen doors and glass windows to escape.) Animal shelters report an increase in the number of lost animal companions after fireworks events.
Want to reduce the chances you'll end up at the vet ER with an injured pet? Read on for five ways to keep your family pets safe on the 4th of July.
1. Try to shield your pets from the sound of fireworks. Bring them inside, close the doors and windows, and play soothing music or TV to help drown out the outside noises. (Be sure to get them outside to potty before the fireworks start.)
2. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and is micro-chipped just in case he or she escapes your home.
3. Some people swear by "melatonin" to help relieve anxious pets. Another option is the flower essence Rescue Remedy (available at the health-food store). In both cases, follow product dosage directions, and consult with your veterinarian before giving your pet any OTC medications or herbs.
4. Remember that fireworks phobia can start any time. Some dogs are fine with fireworks for years, and when they get older, something changes along with their hearing, and they become fearful.
5. If you have to leave your pets alone on the 4th of July, try leaving them confined in an interior room in your home, as rooms without windows will be quieter.
My first 4th of July with my adopted dog, Greta, I didn't know what to expect from her. We stayed inside together, with the windows and doors shut tight and the TV on, while I tried to distract her from all the commotion.
After about half an hour, she either adapted or got bored, because she was soon snoring peacefully. While Greta has never exhibited any fireworks fear, I never take it for granted that she's okay, because who's to say when she may decide she doesn't like them anymore?
As for my cats, while one is never bothered by noise, the other hides under the bed whenever he hears fireworks.
Is your dog or cat afraid of fireworks?
Image via The Marmot/Flickr