Fireworks are a favorite part of many American celebrations, be it New Year’s, Winter Solstice, or the 4th of July. Animals, however, aren’t always too keen when it comes to the loud sounds that come with these magnificent fireworks displays. If you’re a pet owner, you know this all too well. Some animals, even get so frightened that they run away from home and disappear for days or weeks. If you want to keep your pet safe from fireworks, remember the following pet safety tips.
Before the Celebrations
If there are any upcoming celebrations that would traditionally include fireworks, pet safety preparations can be made in the days or hours before the revelries begin.
1. Give your pet lots of exercise.
Walk your dog during the day, especially on the day of the festivities. If he’s happily tired from exercise and play, it would make him calmer and less frightened of the loud noises that would come later. Do the same with your pet cats. Play with your kitties for a while longer than usual and hopefully, they’d be tired enough to sleep through the noise.
2. Create a safe space for your pet.
Days before the holiday, you can prepare a room or a crate inside the house where your pet can safely hide when he gets a little scared. Create a space in some cozy corner, with extra beddings under which he can burrow in. You can even prepare a soundproof kennel using household materials. Include all his favorite toys and treats in the safe space.
3. Ask your vet for medication, if needed.
If your pet has severe reactions to loud sounds, you may consult your vet for any medication that might aid him during periods of distress, such as that is caused by fireworks and other loud sounds like thunderstorms.
4. Update your pet’s ID tag.
Should your pet manage to escape, you need to make sure that he has proper identification tags for you to be able to track him just in case. If your pet isn’t microchipped, now would be a good time to take him to the vet to get one. Lost pets that have been microchipped are more likely to return home safely. You may also consider getting a GPS-activated collar for your pet if it’s something you can afford.
5. Leave your pet at home.
It’s very important that your pets stay safely indoors during the holidays when there are fireworks involved. You might be tempted to take them to the park to see the fireworks and the parades, but this often isn’t a great idea. Your pet can easily get frightened and get lost in the crowd. Consider hiring a pet sitter or calling someone to pet-sit if you’re going out to turn your festival mode on.
During the Celebrations
1. Close all windows and doors.
Close the windows and doors during the celebrations to help muffle the loud sounds. It would also keep away bright lights that your pets might find alarming.
2. Create distractions.
Keep the TV on or play some soft music as background noise to help cancel out the loud bangs coming from firecrackers. Studies show dogs respond well to classical music, which helps them relax. If you’re staying with your pet during the fireworks, try to keep him busy with other things. Play with your pet or hand-feed him with his favorite treats.
3. Make him wear protective gear.
You can have your pet wear earmuffs and anxiety vests specially designed to calm animals down during distressful situations. These, along with pheromone sprays, are available from pet supply stores and online shops. Or, you can simply wrap a snuggly shirt or scarf around your dog before the fireworks start. By applying a little gentle pressure around his body, your pet would feel relatively calmer and safer.
Hosting a Party at Home
1. Keep fireworks and matches out of reach.
If you’re planning on having guests over for festivities like the 4th of July, pet safety must be on top of your to-do list. Don’t ever leave fireworks or matches lying around. You know how curious pets, especially dogs, can get and you don’t want your furbaby accidentally ingesting something toxic or poisonous.
2. Keep your pets away from the barbecue grill.
Fourth of July celebrations are never complete without barbecues! But be on the safe side and keep your pets away. Some dogs have really long fur, which can easily catch fire if you’re not careful. While your primary concern is protecting your pet from fireworks, pet safety tips during special gatherings also include preventing pets from going near bonfires, sparklers, glow sticks, kebab skewers, and charcoal.
3. Ask your guests to keep an eye out.
It could get really overwhelming for pets if you have guests at home, on top of noisy firecrackers outside. But having people around can be useful if you can request everyone to keep an eye out for your pet. You can put notes on the doors informing everyone that you have animals in the house who might get scared off by the fireworks and asking for assistance in preventing any of your pets from escaping.
Post-Celebration Pet Safety
The celebrations may finally be over, but your responsibility on fireworks safety for pets doesn’t end just yet. There are some things you must make sure to do to keep your cat or dog out of harm’s way, post-celebrations.
1. Clear the yard.
Fireworks are absolutely beautiful and breathtaking, but they also leave debris that could find its way into your yard. Before allowing your pets to play outside, make sure your yard is clear from any fireworks debris that could be harmful to your pets.
2. Put away potentially harmful substances and objects.
Of course, you have to check inside your home as well, especially if you hosted a holiday celebration. Put everything back in order and remove any items like skewers or matches so your pets don’t accidentally find them and hurt themselves. Do a thorough cleaning to get rid of any chemicals and harmful metals that are found in firecrackers.
Here Is A Fireworks Safety For Pets Infographic
There are quite a few things that make animals feel stressed, including fireworks. Pet safety, of course, is a big concern, but if you know exactly what to do, you and your pet can get through the holidays without a hitch. Just remember that during major holidays where things can get a little too exciting, the safest place for your pet to be is indoors, right by your side.