Fourth of July for Our Furry Friends

“…and the rocket’s red glare. Bombs bursting in air….”

We LOVE our country’s birthday and how do we Americans celebrate? We have barbecues, picnics, parties and, of course, FIREWORKS!!

But wait – for our pets this is not the laid-back, fun filled, awe inspiring holiday it is for us.

To them, the Fourth of July and the days leading up to it are some of the most terrifying days of the whole year for their little hearts and minds. The flashes and loud noises represent danger to our pets causing an extreme desire to flee, according to the Topanga Pet Resort’s article titled “6 Pet Safety Tips That Will Change the Way You Celebrate July 4th”.

July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters says the American Humane Association, and the AKC Reunite program says that the Fourth of July is one of their highest recovery times. PAW (Indiana Proactive Animal Welfare, Inc.) stated that animal shelters the day after the Fourth of July are “inundated with pets that panicked at the noise of firecrackers and fled into the night, winding up lost, injured or killed.”

In addition to running away, many pets injure themselves or cause damage to homes during their attempts to escape. Things like breaking chains, clawing through screen doors, jumping fences and even jumping through sliding glass doors have been reported when animals are attempting to escape the noise and confusion.

So, what can we do this year to make this an enjoyable or at least tolerable holiday for our furry loved ones?

One universal suggestion I ran across while researching for this article was this:

  • Keep your pets safely INDOORS at all times on the Fourth of July.

The American Kennel Club, in their article “Pet Friendly Forth of July Tips” also suggested that you make sure your dogs (and cats, too, I would add) are wearing ID tags or have been ‘chipped’ so that if they do get out they can be identified.

Other suggestions from PetMD’s article “Top Ten Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips” include:

  • Don’t take pets to firework displays.
  • NEVER use fireworks around pets.
  • Lighter fluid and matches are harmful to animals even unlit!
  • Keep pets away from glow jewelry.
  • Don’t share table food with your pets.
  • Alcohol is poisonous to pets.
  • Only use insect repellant and sunscreen which are made for dogs or cats on your pets – not people’s insect repellant or sunscreen and watch your animals around the Citronella, too.

A couple of great suggestions from the American Veterinary Medical Association  in their article “July 4th Safety” are to take a current photo of your cat or dog so that if they get lost they can more easily be identified and to seek behavior therapy for chronically anxious pets so that they won’t suffer as much during high stress holidays.

And a couple final, great suggestions come again from the Topanga Pet Resort. Their first suggestion is to tire out your dogs earlier in the day with lots of exercise so that they will be more relaxed when the evening and fireworks come. And second, in recognizing that dogs are natural ‘den’ animals, they suggest that you create a small, safe “cave” for your pup to hid in like his crate with a blanket over it or a makeshift tent. I would add to the ‘cave’ his or her dog bed and favorite toys!

I hope this will help both you and your furry loved ones to have a happy Fourth of July this year!

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