Fireworks Safety Tips for Pets

While you may love the flash and fun of summer fireworks, your pet does not. Here are expert-recommended ways to keep your fur baby calm and safe this holiday.

Patriotic Lincoln the Golden Retriever at Trupanion.jpg

Fourth of July fireworks are anything but fun for pets. The loud noises can cause serious anxiety and stress in both cats and dogs. Take extra precautions this Independence Day, and all summer long, by following this expert advice to ease your pets' fears.

Leave your pet at home.
You might think that having Fido with you might help ease his stress, but the combination of unfamilar surroundings plus the sound of fireworks is doubly scary. Also, if your pet is outdoors, he may well make a run for it, so keep him inside for the duration of any fireworks shows.

Tire your pet out.
The more tired a pet is, the calmer he'll be in the evening—and thus less bothered by the loud booms of fireworks. Be sure to take your dog out for an extra-long walk on the morning of the Fourth, and factor in some extra playtime with your kitties.

Make a safe, secure space for your pet.
Before you leave for the evening's festivities, make sure to set up your pet in a safe, comfortable, calming space, like a bedroom or a crate. Keep windows and doors closed to prevent any potential escape, and make sure your pet has a cozy bed, his favorite toys and enough food and water to last throughout the night.

Create a distraction.
If you're home when fireworks are going off, redirect your pet's attention by throwing his favorite ball or another well-loved toy. Not only will you distract your pet, but you may help him associate the noise with something positive like play and attention.

"Soundproof" your space.
A little white noise can help block out the worst of the fireworks. Leave the television or radio on, or just turn on a fan to help sound-sensitive pets get through the evening.

Make sure your pet is ID'd.
This one is key—it's not a coincidence that missing pets cases spike between July 4 and 6. Dogs and cats can get so spooked by fireworks that they try to escape, and many sadly succeed. A collar and tag with identifying information can help your pet be returned to you more easily should the worst happen. If your pet does run away, the Humane Society recommends getting the word out to local animal control and surrounding shelters immediately.  

Talk to your veterinarian.
If you have a particularly anxious pet, consult with your vet for further ideas. He or she might suggest body wraps, treats or even anti-anxiety meds like Acepromazine to help your pet cope.

Sources: DogVacay; Denise Petryk, DVM, MBA, Trupanion.

Photo credit: Trupanion