Jennifer Wilber is a life-long animal lover. She currently has two black cats and has had many dogs and small pets throughout her life.
Fireworks Can Be Stressful to Cats and Dogs
Like most Americans, you have probably been looking forward to summer and the upcoming 4th of July festivities throughout the week of Independence Day. While you are out celebrating with fireworks, barbecues, and beer with your friends and family, it is important not to forget about your furry friends at home. The 4th of July can be an especially scary and dangerous time for cats, dogs, and other pets. Animals don’t understand what is going on when they hear fireworks going off outside, so they can become anxious and afraid. If they are able to get outside, they are likely to get spooked by the sounds of explosions and run away. Each year in the United States, July 5th is the busiest day for animal shelters, as an abundance of runaway pets are found roaming the streets and brought in.
To lessen the chance of harm coming to your furry friends, it is important to take some simple steps to reduce the likelihood that your dogs, cats, or other pets are able to run away during fireworks or be otherwise traumatized or harmed as a result of the 4th of July celebrations:
- Keep your pets inside.
- Keep ID tags and microchip information up to date.
- Make sure your house is safe and comfortable.
Keep Your Pets Inside
The most important thing you can do to keep your pets safe during 4th of July fireworks is to keep them securely indoors. Don’t let your pet outside while fireworks are being set off, as they could become frightened by the explosive sounds of fireworks in the sky.
Try to walk your dog before it gets dark so that you won’t need to take him outside while fireworks are being set off. Even if you keep your dog on a leash or in a fenced in yard when you take him outside, there is always a chance that he could get frightened and slip away. Even if he can’t run away, the fireworks are still likely to frighten him while he trying to do his business. If at all possible, take your dog out for his last walk of the night before the fireworks start.
While it is always recommended that cats be kept inside as indoor-only cats for their safety, many people still allow their cats to roam free outside. If you have an outdoor or indoor/outdoor cat, bring them inside while fireworks are going off in your neighborhood. The sounds of the fireworks could scare your cat, causing it to run away. If your cat is frightened, she is more likely to run out in front of a car and get hit. To keep your cat safe, it is important to bring them inside during 4th of July fireworks.
Make Sure Your Pet’s ID and Microchip Information is Up-to-Date
It is important for both cats and dogs to have up-to-date identification. Both cats and dogs should be microchipped. Cats and dogs should also wear collars with identification tags so that they can be identified quickly and easily.
If your pet is not microchipped already, it is inexpensive to have them microchipped at your vet’s office or at a mobile vet clinic held at certain pet stores. If your pet does escape without their collar, or if they lose their collar, a microchip will help them to get back to you. If your pet is already microchipped, log onto the microchip manufacturer’s website to make sure your information is all up-to-date, including your phone number. When a found pet is brought to an animal shelter, the first thing they usually do is scan them for a microchip. As long as your information is up-to-date, the shelter will be able to contact you to be reunited with your beloved pet if he is brought in.
In addition to the microchip, it is also important to make sure your dog or cat is wearing a collar with an identification tag. For dogs, make sure his up-to-date county dog tag is attached to his collar, in addition to his rabies tag, and an ID tag displaying your phone number and/or address. This will make it easier for someone to contact you directly if they find your dog, rather than taking it to an animal shelter.
It is also a good idea to keep a collar with ID tags on your cat, if they will keep the collar on. For cats, make sure you use a break-away safety collar, as cats may get their collars caught on things while climbing. If your cat wears a collar, keep an up-to-date ID tag with your current address and/or phone number attached, as well as their up-to-date rabies tag. As cats sometimes lose their collars, it is also important to make sure your cat is microchipped as a backup. Collars are a good idea for cats, as they visually tell people that your cat is owned by someone, rather than just a free-roaming feral cat. People are more likely to pay attention to a lost cat who is wearing a collar than a collarless cat that could be just a stray or feral cat.
Make Your House Comfortable to Reduce Anxiety in Your Pet During Fireworks
While the fireworks are happening, it is a good idea to close your windows and curtains to muffle the sounds of the fireworks. Your cat or dog will feel less frightened by the fireworks if they can’t hear or see. Though fireworks are a fun part of the festivities for humans, pets don't understand what is going on and can easily become frightened by the loud sounds.
You should also provide plenty of spaces for your cat or dog to hide during the fireworks. Both cats and dogs can benefit from having secure hiding places where they can feel safe and in control during the fireworks. Add some extra cardboard boxes around your house for your cat or some extra blankets for your dog to burrow into before the fireworks begin.
You may also want to turn on the TV, play some music, or use a white noise machine to muffle the sounds of the fireworks and to distract your pet from whatever is going on outside. If you are staying home rather than going out on the 4th of July, give your pet extra attention while the fireworks are going on. Play with them indoors or give them extra pets and snuggles if they are too frightened to play.
You Can Keep Your Pet Safe and Happy During 4th of July Fireworks
In the midst of the festivities, it can be easy to overlook your furry friend's comfort and safety during this rowdy holiday, but 4th of July fireworks can be scary and stressful for pets. Many cats and dogs become frightened and run away from home during fireworks displays, causing shelters to become overfilled the following day. It is important to be proactive in keeping your furry friend safe and secure during the fireworks.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2018 Jennifer Wilber
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2018:
Hi Jennifer, I think many people don't thing about the effect on their pets until it happens. This article is full of good suggestions. It is difficult when neighbors are still shooting off fireworks late at night. It started in my neighborhood last night.