10 Tips for Fireworks & Pets from ACCT Philly

We’re Welcoming America here in Philadelphia this week but your pets don’t have any idea what the fuss is about. All they know is there are some really loud scary noises and bright lights – something’s going on and it doesn’t sound good!

Keep your pets safe during the entire Fourth of July weekend and beyond with these tips:

  1. Make sure your pets are wearing their ID tags even if they are inside! Don’t forget this most important tip. Even indoor pets have been known to jump through windows and push through doors to try to get away when frightened. An ID tag will get your pet home if he or she runs for the hills to get away from the noise!
  2. Keep your pets inside of the house. Don’t leave your pets in the yard, even with a fence. The loud noises of the fireworks can make your pet behave in a completely different way than you’ve ever seen before. Never escaped from the yard? Well this Fourth of July just might be the night it happens!
  3. Even if your pet has never been afraid of fireworks before, that can change from year to year. Pets can have fears that develop over time with no logical explanation – at least not one that’s logical to us. Just because your pet was fine last year doesn’t mean he or she will go sailing through another Fourth of July without any anxiety. Be prepared!
  4. Don’t fuss over your pet, act as normal as possible even if your pet is distressed. If you appear concerned, your pet just might think there really IS something to be frightened of! Relax, enjoy yourself and feed your furry friends a few treats or play a game of fetch to lighten the mood.
  5. Don’t punish your pet for being afraid. It’s normal to be frightened by loud noises even for humans. Your pet’s reaction can vary from shaking, hiding or vocalizing (barking, howling, yowling) to digging through walls and doors and going to the bathroom in the house. Cut them some slack. No matter how much you try to explain fireworks displays, it’s unlikely you will be able to get your pet to understand that fireworks are just recreations of the epic battles of our country’s fight for freedom. If you can do this, please let us know because we know some people who can make you a tv star…
  6. radio dogBlast the radio or crank up the television. OK so maybe “blasting it” isn’t being neighborly and who knows if your pet even likes that crazy music you listen to but leaving the radio, television, window air conditioning units or any other noisy appliance going can somewhat mask the sound of fireworks in the distance. Some people even use headphones on their pets. We’re not kidding! That barking you hear? It’s just your dog asking for his own iPod.
  7. If your pet is afraid of thunder, expect the same from fireworks. To your pet they seem to fall into the same categories: a) loud and b) scary. Unlike thunder though, you can plan in advance to manage your pet during fireworks. You can also be very fashionable and stylish while you do it. Just check out our Thundershirt information below to learn how.
  8. Check with your veterinarian – there are drugs that can help. If your pet has developed serious anxiety issues over fireworks or thunderstorms, your veterinarian may have solutions including medication or behavioral therapy. But try the Thundershirt too. Your vet might even recommend it!
  9. If you plan to be away, try to have someone stay with your pets during the fireworks displays. It’s bad enough to be alone during scary fireworks but if your pet escapes and you aren’t home to notice, chances of losing your pet for good are higher. If you really can’t find a pet sitter, be sure to have your pet securely contained inside the house with radios or televisions playing.
  10. Don’t bring your pet to fireworks displays. Seriously, just don’t. Even if he liked them last year, remember this year could be different and this time could just be the time that triggers more serious anxieties. Enjoy the lights and the noise with family and friends and let fido & company relax with a radio and an air conditioner. Thank you on behalf of your pet!

If your dog is stressed and anxious, a Thundershirt just might help. Available from ACCT Philly’s Petango store, Thundershirts fit snuggly on your dog, applying even calming pressure which has been demonstrated to reduce symptoms of anxiety in most dogs. 

See for yourself!