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Protect Your Pet on 4th of July

Some dogs are so afraid of fireworks they hide!
State Farm
Some dogs are so afraid of fireworks they hide! Covering them with a towel or blanket may help them feel safer. (Just make sure they can still breathe!)

This is a big holiday weekend, with all the travel, and get-togethers and celebration for the Fourth of July.  The most important thing you do this weekend might be keeping your pet safe.

     Fireworks pose a big challenge for pets, especially for dogs, whose sensitive hearing can be overloaded and bombarded with the noise.  So what can you do to help your furry buddy through what may be a terrifying time?

     If your pet is afraid of fireworks, consider staying home.  Try a distraction – maybe a little running and playing in the back yard, or a game or toy in the house. 

Distract from the fireworks, by playing the TV loud or putting on some music.  Close the blinds or curtains to remove any visual stimulation.  If your dog (or cat) wants to hide, that’s okay, too.  Make sure you stay calm, because that will help your pet feel safe.

     Statistics show that every year around the Fourth of July, shelters fill up with animals frightened by the exploding fireworks.  One of the most important things you can do is make sure your furry friend is wearing a collar that has some form of identification.  It could be a tag, or even some masking tape wrapped around the collar – use a Sharpie to write your cell number, so someone can call you if they find your buddy.  (I saw one suggestion that if you don’t do anything else, use a Sharpie to write your cell number on your dog’s belly!)  Even if you think there’s no way your dog (or cat) can get out, do something to make sure your pet can find its way home.  Shelters are already full, and could be overflowing with pets who become lost due to fireworks panic.  If your pet is microchipped and ends up in a shelter, they will be able to help your buddy get home as long as your information is up-to-date in the registry.

     Doing your best to keep your best friend safe on this noisy holiday can mean the difference for both you and your furry buddy, when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.