Ever since I was a child, I always looked forward to going to the Fireworks Show at Fort Vancouver, and I still do; my dog, however, is not a big fan of fireworks.
Unlike people, pets don’t associate the noise, flashes, and burning smell of pyrotechnics with celebrations; and usually panic at the sights, smells and sounds happening on the fourth. (Not surprising, the American Humane Association reports that July 5 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters).
So, what can you do to help your four-legged friend?
1. KEEP YOUR PET INDOORS: It may sound obvious, but the safest place for your pet is at home, not in a crowded, unfamiliar and noisy place. The combination of too many people and loud fireworks can make even the most chill pet freak out. Also be sure to have your pet properly identified in case they somehow do get out and lost.
2. DON'T USE INSECT REPELLANT OR SUNSCREEN ON YOUR PET: Just because it's good for you, doesn't mean it is good for your pet, so be sure to use only pet approved products. This also includes citronella-based repellants (oils, candles, insect coils, etc...) which are irritating toxins to pets, according to the ASPCA. The result of inhalation can cause severe respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, and ingestion can harm your pet’s nervous system. And DEET, a common insecticide, may cause neurological issues.
3. KEEP ALCOHOL AWAY FROM PETS: If your pet drinks alcohol, they can become dangerously intoxicated, go into a coma, or in severe cases, die from respiratory failure. Yes, even beer is toxic; fermented hops and ethanol are poisonous to dogs and cats.
4. KEEP YOUR FOOD TO YOURSELF: If you're having a backyard barbeque, you may be tempted to slip some snacks to your pet. But like beer and chocolate, there are other festive foods that could harm your pet. Onions, coffee, avocado, grapes and raisins, salt and yeast dough are all possible hazards for dogs and cats.
5: TRY A THUNDERSHIRT: This provides gentle, consistent pressure that can help both dogs and cats feel more secure and relaxed. You can also try using a t-shirt and see if you can put that on your dog (it needs to fit snug).
6. CALMING SUPPLEMENTS: There are many natural calming supplements including herbs, homeopathics, and nutriceuticals available over the counter, you may want to try more than one to see which one works best. (including CBD oil which can help to relax your pet, but also is a good pain reliever, and calming collars with Pheromones for both cats and dogs).
7. PLAY MUSIC: Turn on a radio that’s tuned to a classical music station, turn on the TV, window air conditioner, fan, or dehumidifier to help drown out the sound of the fireworks. (did you know there is even music specially designed music to calm dogs, and a "Relax My Dog" YouTube Channel?)
We wish you all a safe and happy 4th of July!