Fireworks, Cookouts, and Stress: How to Prevent a Stressful Celebration for Your Pet

July 1, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The 4th of July is that time when glistening sparklers, loud noise makers, and booming fireworks help ring in another year in the United States’ history for entire communities to enjoy. It seems like almost everyone has a cookout or two scheduled on their calendars to celebrate the anniversary with friends and family.

A natural thought would be to bring your pet along to share the fun with them. Most people forget that this is not the best idea in terms of your animal companion’s wellbeing. Below is a list of tips on how to handle cookout parties and thunderous fireworks, as well as some warning signs that your pet might not be enjoying the “oohs” and “aahs” that accompany a fireworks show.

  • It is best to simply leave your animal companion at home rather than taking them to see the fireworks display or to a crowded barbeque.
  • Make sure to leave your pet in a quiet and comfortable space in your house, making them more at ease. The cellar, along with something soft for bedding, makes a great retreat.
  • To help drown out the frightening booms of fireworks, leave a TV or radio on to distract your pet and to keep them company. Another good distraction would be a favorite chew toy or bone (one that won’t break into little pieces creating a choking hazard).
  • Do not leave your pet outside while you are away. Distress from the loud noises could make them more likely to run away. They also might try and squeeze through your fence, which could result in injury. If you put them on a leash or chain, they could easily suffocate themselves in their panic.
  • If you have noticed before that your pet becomes distressed by loud noises, then it could be a good idea to check with your vet before the 4th to come up with ways to lessen or prevent their anxiety.
  • It’s a good idea to have your pet’s tag information up to date, since pets are more likely to run away during stressful occasions, like a loud fireworks display.
  • Some general warning signs of distress: shaking, trembling, excessive barking/howling, excessive drooling, lack of appetite, attempting to hide or get away, and loss of control of bowel movements. If these signs continue long after the fireworks show, consult your veterinarian as something else might be bothering your animal companion.
  • In extreme cases, the anxiety and distress from persistent loud noises can result in the death of your pet, so take precautions in advance.

These tips could make the difference between an enjoyable celebration for everyone or a terrible holiday to remember. Thunder storms are another common occurrence during the summer months where these tips would also apply (another helpful tip for thunder storms is to rub a dryer sheet over your pet’s fur to remove static, a common cause of anxiety during storms).

So, apply these tips, stir up some lemonade, heat up the grill, and sit down in the park and enjoy the dazzling show to celebrate the birthday of the United States. You’ll enjoy the display while your pet will hopefully be at home relaxing. Happy 4th of July!

Written by: Heal from Pet Loss intern Sean Mikita. Currently a senior at Duquesne University.

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