Fourth of July fireworks might not be that much fun for Fido or Fiona.
Jonathan Gary, superintendent of Oklahoma City’s Department of Animal Welfare, has some suggestions for lowering your cat's or dog's stress level and keeping them safe during the Independence Day festivities. Keep in mind that every pet is different and has distinct needs.
1. Make them comfortable. Keep your pet in a space they are familiar with and feel comfortable in, like the room where they usually sleep. “Give them comforting things that they would normally have, like a particular bedding that they sleep on or toys that they play with,” Jonathan Gary says. Gary says an enclosed space with a door is ideal because it keeps your pet in one place and enables you to continually check in on them.
2. Make sure your pet is wearing an identification tag. Gary says ID tags are important year-round because they help Animal Welfare properly identify your pet if they find them away from your home. He says there is a slight increase in the number of pets reported missing around July 4, and ID tags help Animal Welfare return pets quickly and safely.
3. Minimize the stress-inducing noise. Try counteracting firework sounds by playing music or turning on the TV. Gary says distracting your pet could help lessen the noise they are able to hear and reduce their stress.
4. Think like your pet. When Snuggles gets spooked, does she cower under the bed? Huddle in the laundry room? Run up a tree? Gary says knowing your pet’s habits and idiosyncrasies can help you keep them calm--and also make it easier to locate them if they get scared and hide.
5. Check in regularly. Keep tabs on your pet throughout Fourth of July celebrations. Monitor their location and try to gauge their stress level. Gary says if you have house guests, it is also a good idea to watch your doors as people enter and exit to keep indoor pets from venturing outside.
Have a happy and safe Independence Day!