Why the 4th of July Is Your Pet’s Worst Nightmare

Why the 4th of July Is Your Pet’s Worst Nightmare

It’s a known fact that many dogs and cats cannot get into the spirit of Fourth of July, America’s Independence Day.  Common reactions pets may have to loud noises include: trembling, vocalizing (barking, howling, meowing), whimpering, panting, drooling, constantly seeking your attention (or protection) and/or attempting to run away or escape from the noise.

Each year hundreds of dogs are lost as they run away due to the scary sounds of explosives. During July 2015, the Austin Animal Shelter took in 1,214 stray pets.

What Can Pet Owners Do to Prepare for the Fourth of July?

Make sure your dog is wearing an I.D. tag with a properly fitting collar as you start the holiday weekend.

Plan to keep your pet inside during fireworks, preferably with human companionship and air conditioning. Outdoor time during the Fourth of July or bringing your dogs to a fireworks display is never a good idea.

If your pet is easily frightened by loud noises and spent a fair number of hours hiding during our recent spring thunderstorms, fireworks might set them off again. Some pet owners see a noticeable level of comfort when their pet wears a tight-fitting piece of clothing.

  • Snug-fitting shirts target various pressure points, creating a sensation similar to swaddling a baby. It is a viable, drug-free option for dogs that suffer from fear of loud noises of fireworks, thunder (thus the brand name “Thundershirt”), separation anxiety and/or travel anxiety. Anxiety Wrap is another similar solution recommended by pet owners.
  • Try on any pet clothing a few times before the loudest firecrackers can be heard.

Fourth of July Game Plan for Your Pet

Make sure your dog gets exercise earlier in the day on the holiday. That’s good advice all summer-long. It keeps your dog cooler and can help protect against heat stroke.

Provide a safe place inside for your pets to retreat. When scared of sounds, pets can’t relax. Most dogs often prefer small enclosed areas. If your dog is comfortable in a crate, that is a good option. 

Removing visual stimulation can also help calm pets. If possible, keep the windows and curtains closed. Covering their crate or lowering the blinds can also be helpful.

Leave your pet something fun to do – like a frozen Kong filled with the dog’s favorite treats or a new, tasty bone or catnip.

Sound therapy can help. Psychoacoustically designed music of Through a Dog’s Ear has been specifically designed to reduce canine anxiety and has been recommended by dog owners. It may most effective when you first play the music well before the fireworks start, at a time the dog is already feeling peaceful and relaxed.

  • Your dog will begin to associate the music with being calm and content.
  • Play the music a couple of hours before the fireworks start and continue to play through bedtime.

Bottom line – keep your pet inside your home and safe from harm when fireworks are in the sky.  

As the holiday weekend approaches, it’s the perfect time to come in for a checkup – particularly if you have a pet that’s susceptible to stress or anxiety. Zippivet also offers preventative care, including microchipping should your dog stray. Make sure your pet is safely ready to enjoy the holiday with you—call, text, or request an appointment online. We are open Monday – Friday: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and will be closed on July 4th.