Fourth of July Fireworks Can Be Stressful for Pets
Fourth of July festivities may be fun for most members of the family, but not always for four-legged loved ones. Experts remind everyone about the perils some dogs or cats may experience because of fireworks.
Sarah Bhimani with the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley explained that because most senses for pets are heightened beyond those of most humans, the sound and even brightness of fireworks may be extremely stressful to them.
“This time of year is the time of year when the most pets go missing because there’s lots of fireworks happening, lots of noises,” said Bhimani. “They’re trying to find places to hide where they really feel safe.”
Bhimani recommends pet owners have up-to-date ID tags for their pets in case they do run away because of fear or stress.
“If animals do go missing, we do have resources on our website to help owners find their lost pet,” Bhimani said.
One option to help pets cope with the stress of fireworks could be a safe room or sanctuary space in your home where they can escape. Bhimani recommends an interior room without windows, if possible, with a bed, treats, and maybe even some ambient sound — a white noise machine or low-level radio playing — that creates a sense of calm.
“It provides them a feeling of safety, all of their stuff,” she said. “It’s safer and there’s no danger of them door dashing or getting out accidentally.”
Finally, Bhimani recommended a way of sort of training your pet to associate positive feelings with the sound of fireworks. She said you can start by playing videos of them at low volumes, and giving your pet treats, talking to them, and praising them while the sound of fireworks is in the background. Eventually, over time, she said you should keep doing this while increasing the volume of the noises gradually.
“It doesn’t happen overnight, but if you work at it, a lot of animals will get more used to the noise and not be scared,” she said.