While we may enjoy the 4th of July fireworks, our pets may not feel quite so enthusiastic. In fact, animals with “noise phobias” – fear of noises and sounds like fireworks and thunderstorms – may be terrified.
To make the holiday more enjoyable for pets and humans alike, here are a few tips from the League’s Dr. Martha Smith to make July 4th a pet-friendly holiday:
- Keep small pets indoors preferably in a room with no windows. You can turn on the TV or radio to provide some distraction.
- Leave your pet at home if you are planning on attending a fireworks celebration.
- Have your pet constrained on a leash or kept in a carrier if you must be outside with them.
- Be aware that some pets become “fearfully aggressive” due to loud noises. Protect your pets from people who are waving sparklers or setting off home fireworks.
- Never punish your pet for his fearful behavior, but don’t reinforce the behavior by trying to sooth your pet with ‘It’s ok’ or similar words. Paying attention to your pet may positively reinforce the fearful behavior.
- If you believe any of your pets has a noise phobia, talk with your veterinarian and staff about the best ways to keep your pet safe during the holiday.
Dr. Smith also notes that many animal shelters report increases of “stray” animal intakes after the July 4th holiday due to the number of pets running away in an attempt to avoid the noise and excitement. “Be sure that your pet has a current ID tag and/or microchip so that you and your pet can be easily reunited in the case he or she runs off,” she advises.
Have a happy and healthy Fourth of July!