Bark Raving Mad Over the 4th of July?

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How to get through the festivities without pupsetting the puppers

Any real American knows that with the 4th of July, celebration is upon us. Independence day is what being American is all about, but what about our all-American pets?

There’s going to be fireworks somewhere nearby and parties and you know you’re going to meet up with friends and family, enjoy some booze and end up watching the fireworks and parades together.

However, did you know that the 4th of July is THE MOST accident-prone holiday in the United States? Between car crashes, swimming incidents or firework-related accidents, there are many ways that the most patriotic day in the country can end badly. And how does that translate for the WHOLE family? We mean, most pets will be thrilled for the extra company and food around the house on this particular festivity. But did you know that the July the 5th is a really busy day for Veterinary practices?!? With the celebrations many pets get scared, others eat things they aren’t supposed to. Between the runaways, the indigestions or downright food poisoning and other accidents… let’s give you some helpful tips to keep everyone safe and in full patriotic spirit this 4th of July:

Teeny weeny pets get frightened big time

Small Pets like Guinea Pigs, hamsters, mice, ferrets and birds are easily frightened so just imagine how they react to fireworks and a lot of people running around! They need special attention during the celebrations:

  • Put their cages/hutches in a quiet room indoors or in the garage while you are celebrating. Just make sure it’s relatively quiet where they are and there won’t be many people going in and out of where they are.
  • Provide them with extra bedding in case they need to burrow themselves to feel safe
  • If you cannot bring your pet’s hutch inside, bring the pet and improvise a safe place. Or at least make sure they have the hutch next to a wall or fence that they can feel safe against.
  • Cover the hutches with thick blankets to block the light from the fireworks and lessen the sound BUT, please make sure there is ventilation!
  • Make sure they have water and food available!

Farm Animals lead quiet lives, normally

For farm animals the fireworks are weird noises also so don’t think that they are not scared just because they are big!

  • If you are planning to celebrate with fireworks in a rural area you should warn neighbouring farmers in advance.
  • Make sure fireworks are set off in the opposite direction and well away from the animals
  • Keep your animals in a familiar environment, in their normal routine and with any companion to make them feel secure
  • Make sure that you or someone they know stays with them when you know fireworks are being set off. Try to make them remain as calm as possible.
  • If you know your animals react badly to loud noises, talk with your vet in advance and consider having them moved for the night.
  • Try to remain calm and positive as your animals can sense unease in a person.
  • Be careful if you need to calm them down! Do not get in the way of a large frightened animal. They may harm you even though they don’t mean to.

Cats and dogs like our company, not our parties

  • Always keep your pets inside when fireworks are being set off. We know you might want to celebrate the moment with them but for them, it’s better to keep them indoors!
  • Go for a long walk with them before the fireworks start.
  • Make sure they have plenty of water and food. Stressed dogs might get thirsty!
  • Close all windows and doors (do not forget catflaps) to prevent them from escaping and keep noise to a minimum.
  • Draw the curtains and if they are used to the TV or radio turn them on so that they hear familiar noises.
  • Make sure they are wearing their ID, even inside the house. A collar and a tag are the minimum. Runaways are frequent
  • If you don’t already have one, consider getting them microchipped. If they do run away, it’s the surest way of getting them back.
  • Make a safe den. Add some of your clothes to make them feel safe and feel your scent.
  • Allow your pet some space and let them hide if they want.
  • Do not try to bring them outdoors against their will.
  • Stay calm, act normally and praise calm behavior. Respect their needs. If they want to be cuddled, fine. But if they just want to hide under your bed, allow it!
  • Avoid leaving your pet alone in the house but if you are going to celebrate it outdoors be prepared for some damage in the house. Don’t get angry with your pet and do not yell at him. Shouting at a frightened pet will only make them more scared.
  • Do not tie your pet up outside while fireworks are being set off – under any circumstances! Even if you are just popping inside a shop!
  • NEVER take your dog to a fireworks display! They might not show it but it is really stressful for them! Excessive panting and yawning can be stress indicators
  • If you stay at home (indoors) do not leave your pets in a separate room from you. But allow them to leave you if they want.
  • Do not try to force your pets to face their fears. It doesn’t work like that. Seek professional help to desensitize your pets to their stressors.

Another big issue to be addressed is Food and Alcohol! Humans might be celebrating but this is not a special day for your pets! Alcohol and some of our food will really harm them so do not share unless you’re sure it’s ok. Be careful with what is within their reach, especially when you are not looking.

Think Ahead and Plan

  • Seek help from your veterinarian if your pets have any health problems or are taking any medication before giving them anything to help them cope with the celebrations.
  • Prepare your dog to noises prior to the big night – there are many CDs or youtube records that you can play (not loudly!) the days before so that they get used to it!
  • Ask your neighbours if they are planning anything special so that you can be prepared noise-wise.
  • Do not assume your garden is escape proof. If your dog needs to go outside keep him on a leash, just in case.

Just remember that it is natural for your pet to be scared of loud noises and unfamiliar sights and sounds.

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