It’s no secret that dogs and cats of all sizes can be spooked by loud noises. Thunderstorms, jackhammers, drums, motorcycles, and backfiring cars are just a few of the sounds that might cause these house pets to whimper, hide, or engage in destructively anxious behavior.
In the summer months—particularly July when Independence Day rolls around—you can add fireworks to this list of scary noises. Many local humane societies cite the Fourth of July as one of the busiest days of the year for reports of lost or runaway pets, presumably due to the animals’ desire to escape from noisy displays of patriotism.
Obviously, you don’t want anything like this to happen to your precious pet, so here are some expert tips on how to help dogs and cats stay safe and calm during fireworks:
- Identify the dates and times of scheduled fireworks shows near your home so you can make all necessary preparations well in advance.
- Create a safe, cozy space for your pets to stay in for the duration of the show. Place a favorite bed or cooling mat in a small, enclosed room or under a table to help them feel secure during all the chaos.
- Try to acclimatize pets to loud noises prior to the event. Do this gradually and in a controlled manner by using a sound CD or similar recording to introduce pets to the kinds of disturbing sounds they might encounter.
- Feed, water, and walk your pets before the fireworks begin, as the noise might make them too anxious to eat or too jumpy while in the backyard or on a leash.
- Block out the fireworks by closing the windows, pulling the curtains, and turning on the television, radio, or white noise machine.
- Try to physically comfort your pet (by hugging, cuddling, putting on a “thundershirt” type product, etc.) if the animal seems receptive, but don’t force the issue.
- Dogs and cats are notoriously adept at taking behavioral cues from humans, so make sure you remain levelheaded and calm regardless of how your pet is reacting to the fireworks.
Loud noises like those associated with fireworks displays can scare pets and cause potentially harmful responses. If you think your dog or cat might get spooked, try the above techniques to help keep them safe during the Fourth of July and other summertime festivities.