Fireworks may be a fun celebration for us, but they can cause severe anxiety for our pets and can cause them to flee in terror from their homes.
Between July 4 and July 6, more pets are lost than any other time of year and local shelters are overwhelmed with the strays entering their doors.
Luckily, there are some precautions that you can take to keep your pets safe during the upcoming holiday weekend:
Exercising your pet is a great way to reduce their anxiety by the time fireworks start. Pet owners should research when their neighborhood will have fireworks events and plan to exercise them hours before. Walks or a game of fetch isn’t the only way to exercise your pup, you can also plan some brain puzzles for them to help tire them out before night fall.
Make sure to double check that your information on your pet’s ID tag and microchip is up to date in case they get separated from you.
A microchip is a permanent form of identification for your dog or cat that is embedded under your pet’s skin. It stores a unique code that can be scanned by animal shelters or vet offices to pull up your contact info, which makes it easier for you to be reunited with your pet in case they become lost. You just want to make sure that you keep your contact information up to date!
If your pet isn’t microchipped, it’s a very quick procedure that takes less than 30 seconds and will last the lifetime of the animal. The procedure is virtually painless for your pet and can be accomplished through a quick visit with your vet.
Help your pet de-stress during the fireworks by creating a dark and quiet space for them to get away from the noise. You can also try to minimize the noise by running a fan, a white noise machine, a TV or radio.
If you know your pet tends to be anxious around loud noise, you might want to invest in a ThunderShirt for your dog or cat, which applies gentle, constant pressure to help calm anxiety. Or talk to your vet about possible medications to help ease their anxiety during these stressful times.
Pets become lost when they try to escape the loud noise of the fireworks, so it’s important to keep pets inside as much as possible during the Fourth of July. You want to make sure that your gates are secured and there are no holes that your pet can get through in your backyard.
It’s also best to keep your dog on a leash when they need to go outside, even in a fenced yard, so they don’t run and hide because of the loud noise.
Cats who are allowed to wander outside should be kept inside to keep them safe and secure during the holiday weekend.
If you are having guests come and go from your home, you should keep your pets secure in a another room or behind a gate, so they don’t slide through the open door while trying to find a good place to hide.
If you take these simple precautions, you are not only protecting your pet, but you are also helping limit the burden to local shelters who are already overwhelmed with animals in need.
For resources and information, please visit the Arizona Animal Welfare League at aawl.org.
Editor’s note: Alessandra Navidad is president and CEO of the Arizona Animal Welfare League. Visit aawl.org.
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