The 4th of July. The day we gather with family and friends to celebrate our Independence and honor our country. We look forward to this celebratory day – with all the food, fun, and festivities – culminating in the highly-anticipated fireworks display.
For pets, it's a different story. The 4th of July is one of the most stressful and potentially dangerous times of the year for pets. While you and your family, friends, and neighbors are celebrating the holiday with fireworks, pets are finding these festive activities anything but celebratory.
“While July 4th is fun for us humans, fireworks and travel can be scary and traumatic for our pets. That’s why we emphasize how important it is to prepare for the holiday ahead of time,” says Chelsea Gennings, Co-Founder of Pet Releaf. “This time of year, we urge pet owners to make a plan before it’s too late — there are easy ways to make sure your pet stays safe and doesn’t go missing during fireworks season.”
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Many pet parents assume that if their pet is not afraid of thunder or other loud noises, he will not be bothered by fireworks. This is not necessarily true. Even pets who normally are not bothered by thunder and other loud noises are often frightened and panicked by the cumulative effects of the fireworks, the excited voices outside, and being left alone inside the house.
It’s important to plan ahead to ensure your pet is safe and comfortable.
Do not take your pet to a fireworks display
This should be obvious, but we have to say it. It’s never a good idea to bring your pet to a fireworks display. Yes, it may be alluring – having your furkid by your side as you “ooh and aah” at the “bombs bursting in air”. Guarantee your pet will not be amused.
Do not leave your pet outdoors
Never leave your pet outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. Out of fear, a pet who normally wouldn't leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in his chain, risking injury or death.
In fact, the July 4th holiday is a very busy time for animal shelters across the U.S. They report taking in a higher number of dogs that run off during firework festivities. Additionally, many police stations log higher volumes of stray dog calls and barking complaints on July 4th compared to any other day of the year.
Create a comfortable indoor space
Keep your pet in your home, in a comfortable and quiet area, with the shades drawn. If your pet is crate trained, then the crate is a great choice. Some pets can become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you've removed any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed. Leave a TV on or radio playing at normal volume to keep your pet company – whether you’re home or away attending 4th of July celebrations.
If your pet seeks comfort in a bathtub, under a bed or other small space . . . let him. Do not try to lure him out. If the space is safe and it makes him feel more secure, let him be.
Calming & anti-anxiety remedies
If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder and fireworks, you can try some alternative remedies that many pet parents have found to be helpful in calming their furkids.
CBD is one potential option. It can be very helpful in relieving situational stress because of its soothing and relaxing properties. According to Chelsea from Pet Releaf, “Since we’ve been in the CBD business for over a decade, we know that CBD is perfect for stressful events like fireworks and travel. And, our Stress Releaf products are 100% safe for pets. We use organic ingredients such as ashwagandha and chamomile, so they’re completely natural and have no psychoactive properties.”
As far as how much CBD to give your pet, and when to offer it – well that depends. Chelsea notes that since each pet is different, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. For example, a large pet will need a higher dosage than a small pet, and a sick pet will need a higher dosage than a healthy pet. Generally the effects of CBD will start to kick in between 30 to 60 minutes. Therefore, it is recommended to give your pet CBD about one hour before the fireworks begin.
In addition to CBD, anti-anxiety vests are great stress-reducing alternatives. Similar to swaddling a newborn, these snug wraps have been shown to help relax pets during highly stressful situations.
If you know that your pet will get anxious during fireworks, but you’re still not sure about trying CBD or a vest, then be sure to call your veterinarian to ask for a recommendation.
Take a car ride - really?
If your pet is most comfortable in the car, some pet parents find that driving around with their pet in the car helps to calm him. However, it’s important to never leave your pet alone in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects, even death in a few short minutes. Partially-opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but they do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen. Leaving Your Pet In A Parked Car Can Be A Deadly Mistake.
Tag & chip your pet
Make sure your pet is microchipped and is wearing an identification tag so that if he does become lost, he can be returned promptly.
Ensure your pets are comfortable and safe this July 4th holiday.
Happy Independence Day!
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