Fear Free

Fourth of July pet safety tips for pet parents.

Fourth of July pet safety tips for pet parents.

The Fourth of July can be one of the most stressful times of the year for pets, as most cats and dogs are absolutely terrified of fireworks.

Although we might oooh and ahhh at the colorful explosions, most of our pets will run for cover. The loud sounds, smell of smoke, and flashing lights can be alarming for even the most fearless pet. Unfortunately, this fireworks-induced fear and anxiety might result in a typically calm pet to lash out or even try to escape. In fact, according to the American Kennel Club, more pets go missing during the Fourth of July than any other time of year.

These veterinarian-approved tips can ensure dogs, cats, and you have an enjoyable, safe, and Fear Free holiday.

Avoid bringing your pet to fireworks shows.

The best advice is to keep your dog and cat indoors during fireworks. Even though you might want to experience the holiday with your beloved best friend, they probably want to avoid the crowds and loud noises.

Double check your pet's I.D. tag and microchip.

In the unfortunate event that your pet does happen to escape, the chances of them being found quickly is much higher when their I.D. tag and microchip is updated with your current contact information.

Create a safe, cozy space for your pet to relax.

A bedroom or bathroom with food, water, a bed, and a few toys is a great place for a dog or cat to hang out during the Fourth of July festivities. An interactive treat puzzle can provide hours of entertainment. You might even include a pheromone diffuser or a white noise machine (such as a fan or softly playing radio) to keep them distracted from the fireworks display.

Comfort your pet if they're scared.

Of course, you should reassure your pet that you're there for them. If you're not home for the holiday, it's helpful to have a trusted friend or neighbor stop by to check on them. When calming a cat or dog, pet them with long, firm strokes and speak to them in a soft, even tone. A Thundershirt (available for dogs and cats!) can give them that extra level of security.

Keep an eye out for toxins.

There are lots of Fourth of July-related foods and toxins that may be harmful to your pet if ingested. This list includes things like chicken bones and corn cobs, which can create a gastrointestinal blockage, and foods that are poisonous to pets including chocolate, avocados, and alcohol. Moreover, fireworks are dangerous to pets if accidentally ingested, causing a variety of issues from vomiting to diarrhea and neurological issues. If you suspect your pet has ingested something they're not supposed to, contact your vet right away.

Discuss other options with your veterinarian.

If your pet experiences severe anxiety, you may want to schedule a time to talk to your veterinarian ahead of the holiday. Veterinarians will often recommend medications or supplements to soothe your cat or dog's anxiety. Most pet clinics, like Papaya Pet Care, will be closed on the 4th—so it's important to think ahead if your pet may need extra support. Have a safe and happy holiday!

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