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July 4th Safety and Anxiety Management for Pets

dog anxiety fireworks blogFor many, the Fourth of July means a long weekend, barbeques, and fun with family and friends. Of course, the 4th wouldn’t be complete without fireworks lighting up the sky. While these festivities may be a great experience for human members of the family, pets don’t always react positively to the chaos of big get-togethers and the sound of booming fireworks.

It’s important to keep dangerous party foods out of reach during July 4th celebrations. Be sure pets don’t have access to alcohol, the onions on the burgers, or chocolatey desserts. It may be best to provide your pet with a quiet place indoors to rest during the celebration.

Additionally, if your pet is spending time outdoors with you during the long weekend, avoid using human products (sunscreen, bug spray, etc.) on animals. Instead, ask your vet for a recommendation.

When it comes time for fireworks, be sensitive to your pet’s needs. A select few animals won’t react to fireworks at all, but many pets will experience anxiety to some degree. Pets typically react in one of three ways:

1.)    By hiding: Animals that quiver and seek out a hiding place during fireworks may need some extra attention during the commotion. Try speaking soothingly to your pet while fireworks are going off and lower the blinds to block outside sights.

2.)    By barking: Many dogs will bark the entire length of a fireworks display. It may be best to stay home with these canines to provide some extra comfort (and your neighbors with some peace and quiet).

3.)    By fleeing: Pets should never be left outside alone on the July 4th because many will panic and flee. If their anxiety is severe enough, some will go to great lengths to escape including digging under fences or forcing their way through screen doors. Because of this, all pets should be properly equipped with an up-to-date ID tag. Shelters often see an influx of stray animals being brought in this time of year.

If you know your pet is prone to anxiety, there are several over-the-counter products that can help, including Thundershirts, Composure, and Zylkene. your pet experiences severe anxiety, you can always speak with your veterinarian about prescription options.

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Jordan Walker June 24, 2014, 5:31 pm

    I agree that 4th of July means a great experience for us but not for our canine companion specially that there’s a lot of fireworks lighting up the sky.
    I went to Philippines last December to visit a Filipino friend and their dog was so afraid with the fireworks that it hide somewhere else. My friend was so worried, good thing the dog came back after a week of hiding. I think it hides because of the sound of the fireworks. I told my friend to never let his dog left outside during Christmas and New Year.

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