Keep your pet safe and happy during fireworks season...

Allison Hartlage, CTC, KPA-CTP, CBCC-KA, CNWI
Director of Animal Behavior Services

While many of us look forward to the 4th of July and all the festivities that come along with it, it can be one of the hardest days (weeks!) for our animals. Many animals are very frightened, if not panicked by the sound of fireworks, other loud noises and large crowds. If your animal flees, cowers, trembles, hides, stops eating, pins their ears or tucks their tail when they hear loud noises, they may need a little extra support during our Independence Day celebrations. You can read more about being your dog’s best friend here, including helpful tips on canine communication and body language signals.

Here are some tips and resources to help your animal feel as comfortable and safe as possible:

  • Keep animals home and inside with all windows and doors closed.
  • If this is your first 4th of July with your pet, if at all possible, please try to stay home with them. If you can’t be home, consider monitoring them from a camera such as a Furbo or Wyze camera.  If you observe panic or distress, head home!
  • Use fans, white noise machines, radios or televisions to help drown out the outside noise.
  • Potty and exercise them (on leash) early in the day when fireworks are less likely to be set off.
  • Forgive accidents! Your dog may not feel comfortable going outside where scary, unpredictable noises abound.
  • Consider a martingale-style collar to prevent your dog from panicking and backing out of their collar if a firework does go off during your early morning outing.
  • Speak with your veterinarian to see if medication would be helpful and appropriate for your animal.
  • Make sure your pets are wearing up-to-date identification/ID tags.
  • Remember: it’s okay to comfort your animal to help them feel safe!
  • Build them a safe space where they can retreat if frightened.

If you know (or learn) that your animal struggles with loud noises, working with a professional trainer can help. Keep in mind that training takes time, so you will want to connect with a trainer well in advance of the stressful situation/event (if it’s too late for this holiday, do your best to support your animal via the tips above and then hire a trainer as soon as possible so you can begin preparing for next year!). Here are some tips on how to choose a trainer.

Animals do a great deal of communicating through body language. Are you fluent? Here are some tools to help you understand what your animal may be “telling” you:

Dog Body Language Gallery

Cat Body Language Gallery

Dog Body Language Book

Dog Body Language Course (Free)

Here are more easy tips to help fearful animals anytime of the year

If your pet becomes lost, contact your surrounding shelters immediately and submit a lost report.
If you 
find a lost pet, use the ID information on their tag to locate their guardian, submit a found report or bring them to your local animal shelter so they can be reunited with their family.

Petco Love Lost is a digital facial recognition technology for pets that helps reunite lost animals across communities. Create your pet’s profile today and get notifications in the event they wander too far to help you reunite quickly! Visit Petco Love Lost.