Photo by Loki the Golden God.
Between July 4th and 6th, U.S. shelters see a 30 - 60% increase in intake. Scared pets panicking from the loud noise of fireworks often end up lost or injured. Don't let your holiday turn into a nightmare for your pet. Before you grill the burgers or roll out your flag, here's your pet safety checklist.
1. Block out sound and noise
Pets' ears are more sensitive than ours, and what's exciting for us is terrifying for them. Crating your pet and putting a thick blanket over the crate can help to block out the noise and light of fireworks. You may even want to put soothing music on that will mask the noise outside.
2. Help ease pets' fears
Ideally you'll be with your pet and able to comfort them, but if you're out celebrating, you can still create a peaceful presence. There are pheromone and scent diffusors that can chemically relax your pet, or you can contact a veterinarian for prescription relaxants if you require something more serious. Swaddling your pet (yep, just like a baby) is also a great way to naturally reduce stress. You can buy special products for this, or you can DIY.
3. Make sure your pet is identifiable
Be pre-emptive by making sure your pet is inside or firmly secured, but have a backup plan in case they do get loose. If your pet is microchipped, make sure that their information is up-to-date. You may also want to consider GPS solutions like Pod, which put a tracker on pets' collars.
4. Keep an eye on them
A pet's owner is one of the most comforting points in their life. If you can't be with your pet, devices like Petcube can help you speak to them and distract them. This two-way camera lets you check that they're still secure, and that they aren't engaging in fear-based behavior like barking or digging into furniture.
5. Protect yourself
A scared animal can be a dangerous animal. If your pet does become panicked, don't make the situation worse by allowing yourself to be bit or scratched. If cats hide, leave them be, and if you must pick them up, consider wrapping them in a towel to protect yourself.