The Fourth of July is one of, if not the, biggest day of the year for pets to go missing. All of the celebratory fireworks are great fun for humans, but for dogs and cats they can be a source of major stress and anxiety. Here are some helpful tips for you to keep your animals safe and stress-free through all the noise this year.
Before the Fourth:
- Be sure your pets are microchipped or have their collars and identification on. Even indoor pets can find ways to escape when they’re scared and making sure they can be identified will help them get back to you should they make their way outside.
- If you already know that your pet has noise anxiety, talk with your vet about appropriate medications or pheromones that might help them cope through the worst of it. Think about getting an Anxiety Wrap or Thundershirt for your dog and get them acclimated to it before the Fourth.
- Prepare a safe, quiet, and secure space where your pet can hide if they want to. An area in the basement, a dog crate or cat carrier, or an extra bathroom could all be good options. Just make sure they have plenty of water and their favorite toys in the area, and provide a clean litterbox for cats.
On the Fourth:
- Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise in the morning. Just like in humans, exercise can reduce stress in pets, so take your dog for an extra long walk or get your cat into a lengthy laser-pointer chase.
- Close your windows and doors and draw your curtains. Try to muffle the outside noises as much as you can. Turning on an air conditioner, fan, or the TV can also help.
- Keep your pets inside. Block off pet doors and secure any outdoor fences or gates around your property.
- Hang out with them. Unless you know that your pet isn’t fazed by fireworks, consider staying home with them instead of heading out with the crowd. You’re their biggest comfort.
- Don’t be afraid to comfort them. For most pets, giving them extra attention and love when they’re scared won’t reinforce the fearful behavior, but will help them feel safe until the situation has passed.
If your pet does escape and run away be sure to call your local police department, animal control office, and Cocheco Valley Humane Society (603-749-5322).