Independence Day fireworks can be an exciting family event, but they can also cause significant stress and anxiety for many pets. In fact, July 5th is one of the busiest days for animal shelters nationwide due to runaway dogs and cats. Make this July 4th safe and stress-free for you and your furry friends by following these helpful tips:

Recognize the Signs

Not all pets are disturbed by fireworks. While some will stay calm, others may panic and potentially harm themselves in an attempt to escape. Signs of anxiety and noise phobia include panting, pacing, hiding, trembling, or seeking extra attention. An anxious pet might also drink more water, so ensure there’s plenty available. It’s best not to take your pets outside to watch fireworks, especially if you’re unsure of their reaction.

Ensure Proper Identification

If your cat or dog does manage to escape, having an ID tag on their collar (breakaway collars for cats) or harness is essential. This is the quickest way to reunite with your pet. If your pet doesn’t already have an ID tag, consider getting one before the July 4th holiday. Microchips are also important.

Strategies and Medications

Many pets find comfort in a crate or quiet room. Playing music can help drown out some of the outside noise. Some pets might require over-the-counter products or medication from the vet. Useful over-the-counter products for anxiety include Adaptil (for dogs) or Feliway (for cats), which are pheromone sprays and diffusers. Thundershirts and Anxiety Wraps can also provide a calming effect.

Preventing anxious behavior is easier than trying to control it once it starts. We recommend starting anxiety medication before the fireworks begin. If your pet has a history of thunderstorm or firework anxiety, contact us to discuss medication options to help manage their stress. Buckeystown Veterinary Hospital would love to help your entire family enjoy a stress-free holiday!