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“The rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air”

“The rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air”

While I’m one of the most patriotic people you’ll find I detest the fireworks that surround us this time of year. Why? Because I’m a dog mom and a professional petsitter and this time of year sparks fear in the hearts of our sweet furry babies. I’m absolutely joyful when our municipalities announce they’re canceling fireworks displays for either drought or financial reasons or this year, COVID however that joy is generally short lived when I hear one of our amateur neighborhood pyrotechnic masters at work. So, since we’ll never be able to stop these neighborhood displays what should we do to make the nights leading up to and including the 4th safe and stress free for our furry friends?

First, and most important make certain your animals have current ID on them including an up to date microchip. This by far is one of the most important things you can do to insure that in case your pet is frightened and runs off they can be reunited with you.

Next, what can we do to keep them calm? I suggest several things, keep your pets inside on nights especially leading up to the 4th, obviously the 4th and maybe a few days after if where you live is anything like our area. Try leaving your pet inside in a darkened interior room or a basement anywhere you can muffle the noise.  Leave a radio or tv on to help de-sensitize them and mute the booms as best you can.

Pet parents may try a dog calming chew, there are many on the market as well as calming cat chews , some have Hemp others have essential oils or herbs like lavender or chamomile as ingredients that will take that edge off. I highly recommend the Thundershirt or calming wrap to see if that brings the anxiety level down. The Thundershirt also comes in a kitty variety. There are calming collars and diffusers which have also been proven to work during these stressful times. It may take a mixture of all the above items to conquer the fear and anxiety the Independence Day holidays brings on our pets as well as us who just want them to be safe and fear free. In extreme cases of anxiety you may need to see your vet for a pharmacological solution to help your pet. If at all possible stay home with your furry loved one, you’ll be able to actively monitor his stress level and create diversions if necessary, perhaps a tasty frozen Kong may keep his mind off the thunderous bangs of the fireworks.

Remember to use extra caution when allowing your pets outside during this stressful time. I once had a client tell me his dog heard a firework go off and frighten him so much he vaulted their 6 foot fence, he was safely recovered due to their ID on his collar. I always recommend using a lead even to just go out in the yard during this time, best error on the side of caution. Because you can’t be aware when one of these surprise booms may happen be careful when you enter and exit your own doors as the animal may try to bolt past you in an effort to get away from the offending noise.

Use the above methods to keep the 4th of July holiday as joyful, safe and stress-free for your pets as possible so that you too can enjoy your Independence Day holiday.