dog with flag on 4th of july

Many people celebrate Independence Day by lighting off fireworks and while the flashes, bangs, and smoke that accompany fireworks may seem normal to us, they can be terrifying to our pets. Dogs and cats have sensitive hearing which amplifies the loudness of fireworks and intensifies their fear. Instead of cancelling your 4th of July plans to comfort a fearful pet, here are a few tips to keep your dog or cat calm during the holiday festivities.

  1. Keep your pet safe and secure. Make sure your dog or cat is indoors and you may even want to put your pet in a crate so they don’t panic and accidentally injure themselves. If you walk your dog outside, only do so with a leash attached so he or she doesn’t become frightened. In fact, escaped pets are so common during the 4th of July that July 5 is the busiest day of the year at animal shelters, according to Animal Humane, because of frightened pets that run away and become lost. 
  2. Exercise your pet early. If you exercise your pet during the day, before the booms, flashes and bangs start, you’ll be more likely to have a tired pet that may even sleep through the fireworks show at night. Try playing some DIY games for dogs and cats to challenge your pet and switch their focus from the holiday activities on to productive tasks. 
  3. Swaddle your pet. If your dog or cat is feeling anxious or scared, gently wrap them in a blanket or towel to help them feel more secure. You can even purchase an anxiety shirt or wrap for your pet which works the same way swaddling an infant works and provides comfort to your pet. If you swaddle your pet in an item that smells like you it will help them to feel even more content.
  4. Try a calming aid. There are many natural remedies available that may have a calming effect on your dog or cat. Turn on the television or some soothing music to help drown out the noisy fireworks. You can also use some yummy freeze-dried treats for dogs or cats to reward your pet during the Independence Day festivities. This will help your dog or cat become desensitized to the loud noises and you’ll be able to enjoy a fear-free 4th of July.