This weekend brings about one of the biggest holidays of the year in the United States. While Independence Day may look a little different this year as we continue to social distance and stay home, the approaching holiday weekend has already brought about an abundance of booming and deafening fireworks throughout many suburban neighborhoods.
Did you know fireworks can be terrifying and traumatizing to our family pets? And that more dogs run away and go missing over the 4th of July holiday than any other time of year? There are a number of expert theories into what causes this spike in fear, but one of the easiest correlations is a dog’s heightened senses. Dogs feel and hear fireworks at a much stronger sensation than humans do. To our pets, it possibly feels like the world is caving in around them with no means of escape.
Can you imagine if we absorbed the sound and feel of fireworks with the same intensity? Would we be so quick to set them off in our backyards? The best we can do is to help educate, but it is also unrealistic to assume that all people will skip the fireworks. So… here are some tips as pet parents to help keep your pets safe and comfortable all weekend long.
First and foremost, keep your dogs away from fireworks.
While many holiday events have already been cancelled due to Covid-19, as a reminder - do not take your pets to any live firework shows, nor leave them outdoors - even if they usually enjoy being outside. Experts at the Humane Society emphasize the importance of keeping your pets indoors on firework-heavy days. This will help reduce their exposure to the sounds they find so frightening and will help prevent them from running away.
Create a safe haven.
While fireworks are being set off, provide a safe and quiet place for your pets to ride out the commotion. Use a crate if this is somewhere they feel safe and make sure they have comforting items close by like familiar toys, blankets, treats and water. Set up their safe haven away from windows where noises are loudest, and turn on a television, play some music or use a white noise machine to drown out the noise.
Talk to your vet about calming medication or try CBD oil.
If you have a particularly anxious pup, consult your veterinarian about possible calming medication. There are a variety of options that could help treat their firework-phobia, including CBD oil or CBD calming treats, which is an all-natural route. Always be sure and do your own research, but we recommend Suzie’s CBD Treats or Zen Dog’s - both of which we use regularly, as do several of our loyal customers.
Invest in a pressure vest.
Most dog parents have heard of Thundershirts, right? Well a pressure wrap or vest is essentially the same idea. They apply gentle, constant pressure to help calm a variety of ailments including anxiety, fear and over-excitement - similar to the way swaddling a baby works. Check out our Summer Lightweight PAWjamas, as they make an excellent fill in. They’ll help keep your pets calm, cool and collected all Summer long. And they’ll look adorable too!
Help prevent escaping.
Even under the best of circumstances, our pets can slip out undetected when we least expect it. Add in fear and they can make it their mission to escape whatever has them feeling frightened and anxious. If you’re having people over for a backyard BBQ, avoid using the front door to greet your guests. Ask them to walk around to the back of the house instead. And if you’re hosting indoors, set up your pet’s safe haven in a separate room away from any doors that lead in and out of the home.
If you won’t be home at all, but know your pets are fearful of loud and unexpected noises, consider hiring a dog sitter to keep a close eye on your pets while you’re away.
These are just a few tips to help keep your pets safe this holiday weekend, and while not all dogs are afraid of fireworks it’s best not to take any chances. Even if your plans are to sit at home for a night of cuddling make sure your dogs are wearing their collars with up-to-date tags. If they’re microchipped, double check to ensure the information registered is correct. Should they escape, the chances of them being returned to you safely rise exponentially.
The truth is, fireworks - while scary for our family pets, can also be quite damaging to wildlife. Wildlife is also displaced from their homes at alarming rates during this time of year and the damage can often be irreversible to their ecosystems. Birds and small mammals will abandon their nest in fear, can become disoriented and never find their way back to their young. Babies face starvation or can fall victim to predators. Not to mention the debris fireworks leave behind - wildlife can become entangled in it and can prove deadly if ingested. Fireworks have also been known to cause forest and bush fires.
So… if you feel so inclined, skip the fireworks all together and help keep animals everywhere safe. Wishing you all a Happy Independence Day! Happy and safe celebrating from our family to yours!