Next weekend is the Fourth of July, a day many pet owners, myself included, dread, because we know that holiday fireworks frighten and kill pets and wild animals. I know firsthand from my time as Director of Public Relations for New York City’s Center for Animal Care and Control that more dogs go missing on July 4 than any other day of the year. Some turn up at shelters while many more never make it home alive. Elsewhere, wild birds become disoriented and abandon their nests, leaving little ones to die, and other animals are poisoned by eating firework residue.
Please don’t “celebrate” this holiday or any other by causing pain, fear, confusion, and death, and protect your companion animals from being frightened by the thoughtless “celebrations” of others. If fireworks are inevitable in your neighborhood, follow these six tips to make your dog feel safe:
1. Keep your dog on a leash when in or out of the house to prevent bolting from unexpected noises or flashes of light.
2. Be sure your dog is wearing a visible, up-to-date ID tag on the collar. Be sure you have a current photo of your dog.
3. Take a long walk and make sure your dog’s bladder and bowels are empty before festivities begin.
4. Keep your dog in a crate or small room during festivities. Make sure favorite toys and foods are available. Swaddle with an anxiety wrap or thunder jacket, if needed.
5. To mask noises, play soft, gentle music in the room where your dog is staying. Close doors, windows, and shades to dampen loud noises and bright lights.
6. Stay calm yourself, and spray the room or crate pillow with a calming mist.
Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share this planet!