Fireworks, fruity drinks, and gathering with family and friends on July Fourth are the summer’s high points for many people. However, these same activities can be hazardous for pets. Our Tidmore Veterinary Hospital team wants to help keep pets calm and happy on July Fourth, so we’re sharing tips for pet safety and preparation.

#1: Double-check your pet’s collar and microchip

Pets are more likely to go missing during the summer because they have more opportunities to get out of the house when guests leave doors open or the frightening sounds of fireworks and thunderstorms cause them to panic and run away. Before the loud, scary booms and house guests appear, double-check your pet’s identification.

A collar and ID tag are good basics but they can fall off or break when your pet gets loose. A microchip is a permanent identification solution our team can implant under your pet’s skin in a short outpatient visit. The chip does not track your pet’s movements or emit a signal. Instead, it stores a unique number that will link to your family’s contact information when scanned and looked up in a database.

#2: Address pet fireworks phobias in advance

Noise phobias, or noise aversion, are widespread in dogs. Up to two-thirds of our canine friends are afraid of noise, most commonly thunderstorms and fireworks. This fear intensifies and worsens when left untreated, and pets may develop different fears and anxiety conditions. Talking to your pet, coddling them, or yelling at them to calm down are ineffective in reducing the involuntary panic response in their brains—most pets need prescription medications to relax. Contact our veterinary team before the noisy season begins so we can prescribe medication and determine a long-term behavioral modification strategy that will address the problem.

#3: Set up a safe, quiet space for pets to retreat to from noise and crowds

If you anticipate fireworks within earshot or plan to have guests in your home, create a safe, quiet space for your pet to hide when they feel scared or overwhelmed. This strategy helps them feel calm and secure and insulates them from noises that may startle them. Keeping them inside also prevents them from becoming lost or injured during a fireworks show.

Line the space, which could be a basement room, closet, bathtub or shower stall, or other cozy corner, with comfy bedding and familiar toys. You also can play calming music, dispense soothing pheromones via a room diffuser, and apply an anxiety wrap to your pet. 

#4: Leave pets at home when you go to community events

You may be tempted to take your best buddy to the community block party or fireworks event, especially if they tag along with you to other events and enjoy the company of others. But even the most social pets can become spooked by fireworks noise, and the majority will be safer and more comfortable at home in their quiet space.

#5: Set ground rules for party guests to protect your pets

You’ll need to set a few ground rules and take extra precautions to protect your pets if you plan to host guests for a July Fourth party. These include:

  • Placing signs on the exits reminding guests to completely latch doors and gates behind them to prevent your pet from escaping.
  • Keeping pets in a house area away from the exits entirely if you do not have a fenced yard.
  • Providing guests with pet-safe treats they can give to your pet instead of harmful table scraps. Take extra caution if your meal contains potentially toxic foods, such as garlic, onions, grapes, chocolate, or xylitol, or items that could cause intestinal obstructions, such as meat bones or corn cobs. 
  • Encouraging guests to throw their trash immediately into well-marked receptacles that pets cannot knock over or break into.
  • Not setting off fireworks while pets are outside.
  • Ensuring pets do not overheat outdoors by providing them with water, shade, and indoor breaks.

With our July Fourth pet safety tips, you can feel prepared and confident that you and your pets will enjoy the holiday. Call to schedule a consultation with our Tidmore Veterinary Hospital team for pets who may require noise aversion treatments or need prescriptions dispensed before the holiday, or if you have questions about July Fourth pet safety.