As fireworks light up the night sky with Independence Day celebrations, it’s important to remember that this fun holiday can be challenging and terrifying for our furry friends.
Animal shelters nationwide experience a massive surge of incoming animals in the days following the Fourth, indicating that pet owners can do more to keep their pets safe and comfortable.
At The NOAH Center, our mission is to provide a second chance and find loving homes for homeless pets in overburdened animal shelters at risk of euthanasia. We don’t want your pet to become lost and in a local shelter this Independence Day.
As we approach this boisterous holiday, we want to share essential tips on keeping your beloved friends safe and serene during the festivities. We can ensure our four-legged family members enjoy a calm and stress-free holiday by taking a few precautions and showing them extra care.
Together, let’s create a Fourth of July that is both joyous for us and safe for our cherished pets!
Tip 1: Update Identification & On-Hand Photographs
Photos: Nowadays, with smartphones, you likely have plenty of up-to-date photographs of your furry friends. But now is a great time to snap a few new pictures if you don’t.
Microchips: If your pet has a microchip, be sure you have registered the microchip with the microchip company and your contact information is up to date. At The NOAH Center, we microchip using 24PetWatch, and our Matchmakers include microchip information with adoption paperwork. If you cannot find this information, please get in touch with us as soon as possible to help you get your microchip number.
If your pet has not been microchipped, we encourage you to request it from your veterinarian as soon as possible. Microchipping is a quick and straightforward procedure that does not need sedation.
Collars & ID Tags: Keeping collars with up-to-date identification tags on your pet is always a good idea. Pick a collar that fits well and has a secure clasping mechanism to prevent it from falling off accidentally. Identification tags should have your phone number, at the very least.
Tip 2: Secure Outdoor Areas
If you have a backyard, ensure that it is properly fenced and secure to prevent pets from escaping due to fear or confusion caused by fireworks. Check for any potential escape routes or gaps in the fence that need to be addressed. Even if you intend on keeping your pets indoors (which we strongly recommend), folks tend to light off random fireworks throughout the days leading up to the Fourth, so be prepared by having your backyard secure.
If you have a known “bolter,” consider taking your dog out on a leash the few days before and the day of, even if you have a fenced backyard.
Tip 3: Create a Safe Space, and Keep Pets Indoors
Unless you have an extremely relaxed dog who is completely comfortable and unfazed by loud noises, it is almost certainly best to keep your dogs, and especially cats, indoors.
Choose a space: Designate a quiet, secure area in your home where your pet can retreat during fireworks or other loud noises. We recommend a room where your pet is already comfortable – a bedroom, for example – where you can shut the door to keep them in.
Prepare the space: Do the prep work and have the room ready before the fireworks begin. Fill the space with familiar bedding and toys, and create a sheltered hiding spot if needed. If your dog is crate trained and feels safe inside one, make sure they have access. Closing windows, curtains, and blinds will help to muffle the sound and to provide a sense of security.
Use noise to cover up noise: Try turning on a TV or radio to drown out the noise outside. A sound machine works well for this, but if you don’t have one, download an app on your phone and play through a speaker or just use your phone’s speaker.
Tip 4: Provide Distractions
Engage your pet with interactive toys, treat puzzles, or long-lasting chews to help divert their attention from the noise and provide mental stimulation. Kongs with peanut butter work well or try out a deer antler that lasts practically forever.
Your presence can be a great distraction for a nervous pet. Remember, they don’t know what’s happening, so while this would require you to miss out on the festivities, being there for your pet can make a real difference and can build your bond even more. Maintain a calm demeanor and speak soothingly to help reassure them.
Tip 5: Watch for Dangerous Substances
The Fourth of July is often accompanied by things like barbequing, alcohol, and sweets. Certain foods like chocolate, alcohol, and barbecue scraps can be toxic or dangerous to pets, so keep them out of reach for counter surfers.
Tip 6: Consult with your Veterinarian
If your pet experiences severe anxiety or stress during fireworks, your veterinarian may recommend medications or other strategies to help alleviate their anxiety and keep them safe.
Remember, each pet is unique, and their reactions to fireworks may vary. By taking proactive steps to keep them safe and secure, you can help ensure that your furry friends have a stress-free Fourth of July.