If you or your neighbors plan on getting all 1776 this Independence Day, remember that bombs bursting in air are more like bursting in scare for cats and dogs. What might seem like a harmless “pop” can be nearly deafening and threatening to dogs, and it will certainly send your cat scrambling for cover. The reasonsmost pets are scared of fireworks are fairly obvious, but include unpredictability, erratic sounds and repeated noise. People shooting off fireworks should also be aware of any nearby livestock or horses, because they can become agitated to the point of injury.
If refraining from fireworks isn’t an option for you or others near your property July 4, here are some things to keep in mind to avoid a fear-filled frenzy:
-Roll solo. If an organized fireworks display is more your bag than beer and back-yard bottle rockets, leave your furry friends at home. The whimpering, fear and howls will quickly drain the evening’s fun.
-Know your pet. If you or neighbors opt to blow things up in your back yard, animals with a strong fear response or those already prone to anxiety will go bonkers during the blasts. Other dogs and cats might be content to remain in an interior room. White noise in the background can relax them and further muddle the noise outside. PetSafe® brand dog-calming toys can help, too. If it’s a hot Fourth of July, a cooling dog toy like the Chilly Penguin might also fit the bill.
-Dogs will bolt. Cats will hide. Many dogs will respond to fireworks or other unexpected sources of noise by running away. f you or neighbors plan some sizzle and pop, make sure your dog is microchipped or well-tagged with information to help him get back home. Check fences and gates to make sure your dog can’t make a break in a panic. PetSafe brand locking pet doors can help you keep your animals safely inside during any fireworks display. Cats, being cats, will likely hide, but may run away, too. Make sure they are chipped or tagged as well.
-Be a good pack leader. Much like children, dogs look to their parents for guidance and reassurance, especially in stressful situations. If your dog is out and about during fireworks and keeping it together to some degree, keep your cool no matter how beautiful the bursts. Don’t yell or hoot and holler and you will help your dog get through fireworks.
-Explosion debris. Fireworks not only pose a mental risk to your pets, they can pose a physical risk (beyond leaping at a lit firecracker). Your yard and your neighborhood may be littered with fireworks debris following Independence Day parties. Dogs are prone to chewing on virtually everything, so make sure he doesn’t savor gunpowder-flavored launching sticks, fireworks packaging and other potentially dangerous leftovers. Clean up quickly after your July 4 bash. If your neighbors’ properties sounded like combat zones, keep an eye on your dog during walks and clear debris from streets and sidewalks.
Even if you choose to refrain from lighting up the sky because of concern for your pets, your neighbors may not. Most animals will react negatively to fireworks. In fact, they may be downright terrorized, so consider trying to limit Independence Day sizzles and pops to the barbecue grill and the cooler.