Fireworks Can Cause Pets to Panic

Keep pets indoors and safe on the 4th of July!

Everyone loves a good 4th of July party. It’s usually several weeks before, and a few weeks after the actual event that we can hear the distinct whistle and pop of neighborhood kids shooting off firecrackers, but every year we learn that too many people haven’t thought about what this summer fun does to our pets and their nerves.

Did you know the day after the 4th of July is the highest annual intake of stray dogs at our shelters nationwide? Countless frantic family dogs, left in their yards while everyone is off enjoying fireworks, find a way to escape their yards, running aimlessly and panicked into the streets. Each crack of a firecracker sends them into an even more frantic and confused state, often causing them to run miles from their homes. Of course, not all pets react to fireworks this way, but we think it’s important to put your pets in a safe indoor environment on the 4th of July, and keep an eye on their behavior in the weeks prior to the 4th while the neighborhood festivities are getting under way.

If you feel your dog (or cat) is becoming panicked, consider mild sedation. There are many herbal calming formulas available for pets. I feed my dogs an herbal tablet in a small wedge of cheese and they rest blissfully during fireworks, waking just long enough to adjust to a different position and drift away to sleep again. Another option is a Bach Flower Remedy called Rescue Remedy, or Rock Rose for terrified animals. A few drops in your pet’s mouth can ease panic and fear without sedating them at all. You can also help by telling others who may not have thought about protecting their pets on the 4th of July and by hanging a notice at work or in other public places. If you’re going to be shooting off fireworks yourself, remember to be conscientious about where you are causing all that noise. The sound and smoke is very disconcerting to all animals, even our wild friends—and they were here first. Remember, sharing your knowledge can prevent another tragedy.

And don’t forget New Year’s Eve!

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