You’ve been dealing with increased noise from fireworks for a few days now. You’ve watched your pet jump, cower, hide or even stop eating from the stress of the random loud noises. What are you going to do tonight when fireworks are at their loudest?
First, by no means should your pet be outdoors. Even a primarily outdoor animal should be given shelter for the night. A spare room, bathroom, or laundry room in your house is best; even the garage is better than being outside. Wherever you invite your pet to stay, be sure to remove anything poisonous or near and dear to your heart. Dogs, especially, may be destructive as they get more and more nervous – you don’t want them ripping up that bag of fertilizer or your favorite towels.
A room with no windows and a solid door is best. Some dogs are heavy enough to push out window screens or slam through screen doors during stress. But with warm weather in the forecast, you also need to make sure that whatever place you choose to keep your animal for the night has adequate ventilation. A car, a shed or a garage can all get extremely hot on a day with 80-degree temperatures. Even with windows partly open, a car can be dangerously hot.
Indoors, a pet that usually has full roam of the house may be happier and easier to control if limited to one room or area. Place your pet’s favorite things here – pet bed, toys, treats. If your pet is crate trained, this is a good time to keep it in its crate.
If no human can be home to pet-sit, arrange to play soothing music where your pet will be staying. While you might be enjoying John Phillip Sousa marches tonight, keep it calm for your animals. Most radio stations, even classical ones, choose rousing music for the night, so think about Mozart CDs. The nice environmental ones that feature rushing water and chirping birds may not be able to cover the blasts, so pick something with more constant music. A television set is okay too if it won’t be showing fireworks displays or playing loud patriotic music.
If there will be humans in the house, make sure they know that the pets may behave in unexpected ways due to fright. It’s not unusual for a dog to fear bite under extreme stress, and dogs can even lash out at a beloved owner.
Even though your pet will be indoors, make sure it has proper identification. If you don’t always make your pet wear a collar and ID tag, this is the night to put it on just in case. Area shelters will fill up with scared pets that managed to escape from homes, garages and fenced yards, and the identification will make it easier to return them quickly.
Some animals get so scared by the sounds that they display signs of physical problems. Shaking, drooling, loss of bladder or bowel control, and self-mutilation can all happen to a pet freaked out by fireworks. If you know your pet has some of these symptoms, try to distract it with toys or favorite foods. Often this is tough to do, so keep a close eye on the symptoms and visit a vet if they don’t go away after the fireworks or get progressively worse.
Even if your dog copes well with the noises from fireworks, it should not attend evening activities with you. The fireworks aren’t the only distraction – other animals may behave differently than normal and you don’t want to be in a fight. Even on a leash, a dog may get away from you in a crowd. And traffic is generally heavy on the Fourth, so there is an increased risk of being hit by a car.
Enjoy the holiday celebration, but leave the pets at home where they will be most safe and comfortable.