July 4th can be a fun-filled day for humans, but the loud pops and noises common around this holiday can cause anxiety for your pets. Dogs and cats can experience an increased amount of fear, anxiety, and stress on holidays where fireworks are a part of the celebration – studies have shown that nearly half of all dogs are frightened by fireworks! No one likes to see their pet afraid – luckily, there are some simple ways to ensure that your pet feels safe and gets through the night with minimal stress.
Prepare your pet and home.
Making sure your pet feels safe and secure at home is the best way to prevent potential issues from arising during a noisy holiday. Make sure your pet has a safe spot to ride out the night – this can look like providing them with soft, cozy blankets for them to lay in and a toy or other enrichment that keeps them busy and entertained. For added relief, draw curtains and close windows to reduce the amount of noise and light that can trigger your pet. Rewarding your pet for calm behavior and reassuring them through a soft-spoken tone and gentle pets can help, too.
Prior to the holiday, ensure your pet is microchipped and that your contact information is up-to-date in the event that your pet becomes fearful and runs away during the celebrations. JHS also recommends signing up for Petco Love Lost, a free reunification tool for pet owners.
Keep your pet inside.
Pets are easily scared of loud noises like fireworks, and attending fireworks events on Independence Day can cause unnecessary stress for your dog and increase the chance they may run off and become lost. If you are attending a July 4th event, leave your pet at home in their safe spot.
Consider anxiety-aiding tools.
Some furry friends need a little extra help than others to stay calm during noisy events. Whether it’s a compression jacket, CBD treats, or anxiety medication prescribed by a veterinarian, using additional tools to not only relieve your pet from stress but also ensure their safety can be beneficial for anxiety-prone pets. If you think your pet could benefit from anti-anxiety tools, talk to your veterinarian.
Keep your pet hydrated and fed.
Increases in stimulating noises or lights can prevent your pet from leaving their comfort spot to eat or get a drink of water. Fear on an empty stomach can worsen your pet’s reaction to fireworks or other sudden noises, so keep the snacks coming!
Increase activity and enrichment before the holiday.
Giving your pet an active and productive day can make it easier for them to rest at night during firework festivities. This can look like taking them out for two or three walks before the sun goes down, taking them to explore a new place, having extra playtime, or even going on a beach day! Enrichment activities such as slow feeders, Kongs, or towels with treats in them can also help your pet work off energy.
Ensuring your pet’s safety and comfort is a number one priority in the mind of pet owners. For additional information and resources, check out this article from the American Kennel Club.