June 30, 2022
While many people enjoy the fireworks displays that commemorate summer holidays like Independence Day, their furry friends may not feel the same way.
Trupanion, a medical insurance company for dogs and cats, notes that it has a 45-percent increase in anxiety-related claims during the month of July, higher than any other month of the year.
Why exactly animals get so frightened by fireworks is pretty simple.
Pets, particularly dogs, are scared by the colorful displays because they are loud, unpredictable and threatening, according to pet food company Purina.
Luckily, there are some ways to combat the fear and stress that appear in pets once the bright lights and loud crack of fireworks hit the skies.
South Jersey veterinarian Dr. Dana Gorman, from the Animal Clinic of Hammonton, offers the following tips for pet owners worried about their animals this summer holiday season.
• Exercise – Keeping pets active throughout the day can help alleviate anxiety once night falls. "Get plenty of exercise with your pet during the day to decrease any pent up nerves or energy when the fireworks start," Gorman said.
• Safe Space – Gorman suggests finding a safe space for pets, in a familiar and comfortable room in the house, with all windows closed. "Play some calming music, white noise, or the TV to help drown out the fireworks," Gorman said. There are "Thundershirt Calming Wraps" to make pets feel even more secure. She also recommends this "Anti Anxiety Music for Dogs" found on Youtube.
• Distractions – Distractions, such as high-value treats and toys, are a good way to keep pets settled. "Try a Kong with frozen peanut butter to keep them busy and happy," Gorman said.
• Proper ID – Whether taking your pets to an outdoor fireworks show or simply letting them wander the backyard during the display, there is always the possibility they could get spooked and run away. Gorman recommends proper identification for pets, and offers a tip for those who are on a time crunch. "If you don't have time to order a tag with accurate information, you can always use a luggage tag to add your information and attach it to the collar," Gorman said.
• Microchipping – In the event pets do get scared and run away, microchipping them can help ensure their safe return if they are found by local officials. Gorman suggests making sure your contact information associated with the microchip is up to date.
• Contact your vet – Gorman recommends contacting your veterinarian to discuss further options to decrease firework-related trauma for furry friends.
So, before heading out or settling in to admire fireworks this Fourth of July, give some extra thought to how your pets can be most comfortable during the show.