While Fourth of July festivities may be great fun for people, they can be frightening and even dangerous for our animals. Fireworks are terrifying and disorienting for most animals (including our wildlife), which is why more animals are lost or found running loose in the week before and after the Fourth of July than at any other time of the year.
Be a responsible pet parent by keeping your pets away from the festivities and providing a safe and calm environment for them during this time. Listed below are a few precautions you can take. And, of course, a relaxing Healing Touch or Reiki session can get your animal friends back in balance after the stress of the holiday.
- Keep your pets inside in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during fireworks.
- If possible, keep the windows and curtains closed. Remove visual stimulation to calm them.
- Double check that all doors, windows, and gates are secure.
- Make sure all pets are wearing ID tags with up-to-date information
- Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day so they are tired out and more likely to be relaxed.
- Leave something to occupy their time like a favorite toy. Or a frozen Kong filled with favorite treats.
- Play calming or classical music or turn on the TV to mask any noise and distract your pet’s attention from the noise of the fireworks. Some therapeutic music is specifically designed to reduce canine anxiety. If possible, play the music well before the fireworks start, so the dog is already peaceful and begins to associate the music with being calm and content.
- Consider an anxiety wrap, like a Thundershirt, that provides gentle, constant pressure. 85% of users report significant improvement in noise anxiety symptoms in their pets.
- Diffuse a calming therapeutic essential oil such as lavender or chamomile in the room for a short time. Be extra cautious with essential oils if you have cats in the home as some are potentially toxic to them.
- Bach Flower Rescue Remedy and other calming essence blends are helpful for gently easing stress and anxiety in animals.
- Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal, lighter fluid, matches, and kabob skewers away from curious pets.
- Keep alcohol and toxic “people” foods (such as chocolate, onions, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins and yeast dough) away from your pets.
- Keep your pets away from citronella-based repellants like oils, candles, and insect coils. Inhalation of these products can cause severe respiratory illnesses and ingestion can harm your pet’s nervous system.
- Only use pet-safe sunscreen on your pet. The ASPCA lists the poisonous effects of human sunscreen on your pet as, “…drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and lethargy.”
- Check your yard or pasture for firework debris and clean it up before allowing animals outside.
- For horses, mark a safety halter with your contact info and leave it on during this stressful time. Make sure they are in safely fenced areas as far away from the noise and excitement as possible.