Around the world, fireworks are a popular and spectacular way to celebrate holidays and bring communities together. Whether celebrating your nation’s independence or ringing in the new year, chances are, you’ve enjoyed the explosive colors of a fireworks show. For humans, fireworks are synonymous with celebration. However, for our animal companions, they’re less of a party.
Frightened by sudden loud noises and bright flashes, many animals can become startled and try to run away during fireworks displays. Even when kept securely indoors, they can still feel scared or stressed by the sudden sensory overload. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to help keep your pets safe and comfortable during fireworks. They include:
WALK YOUR DOG BEFORE DUSK
If you typically take your canine companion for a walk after dinner, shift your schedule to ensure you get home before the fireworks begin. While it’s best to avoid taking your dog outside during the display, skipping their regular walk entirely could lead them to feel more stressed later in the evening. You might even consider giving your dog some extra playtime to let off some steam before the fireworks show begins.
KEEP PETS INDOORS
It’s best to avoid leaving animals outside unattended during fireworks. Even if they are securely fenced in, they could escape or injure themselves trying to get away from the commotion. Whenever possible, keep your pets indoors during fireworks shows, and make sure doors and windows are secured to deter any aspiring escape artists. If you have pets that spend all of their time outdoors, such as horses or livestock, ensure that they have a secure shelter to take refuge from loud noises.
Ensuring that your pets have proper identification, such as collars with ID tags and/or microchips, will increase the odds that they are returned to you should they ever get lost.
PROVIDE A SOOTHING SPACE
The noise associated with fireworks can be very frightening and alarming to animals. Therefore, ensure that you do everything you can to make them feel safe and comfortable during this time.
Give your pet a quiet, comfortable, and familiar space to rest during the fireworks show. You can try playing some calm music to drown out some of the noise and help them relax. Depending on your pet’s personality, you may be able to distract them with treats or toys when the fireworks begin. If your pet is extremely fearful, you can talk to your veterinarian about potential remedies to provide relief from stress and anxiety. However, it’s best to focus first on creating a calm environment and rely on medication as a last resort.
HELP YOUR PETS PREPARE
If you know you’ll be celebrating an occasion with fireworks in the near future, you can gradually introduce your pets to the noise to help them get used to it. This will help them deal with the upcoming event and make it less traumatic. You can use videos to play the sounds of fireworks and gradually increase the volume while engaging in normal, pleasant activities, such as playing with your pets or giving them treats.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR MISSING ANIMALS
Unfortunately, many pets manage to escape when startled by fireworks. In the days following the celebration, be on alert for animals who seem lost, scared, or injured. In addition, pay close attention to missing pet signs that pop up in your neighborhood. If you do encounter a pet who seems to be in trouble, contact your local animal rescue or veterinarian as soon as possible.