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Pet Precautions for the Fourth of July

June 25, 2024 — For most Americans, the Fourth of July means cookouts, pool parties, and fireworks. But for some pet owners—and their beloved animal companions—the patriotic celebrations bring anxiety and dread. July 5 is the largest intake date for U.S. animal shelters because of runaway pets. American Humane shares lifesaving tips to keep pets safe and comfortable during fireworks.

“Tragically, more pets go missing over the Fourth of July weekend than any other time of the year,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “Loud fireworks cause some animals to panic and flee, and they are often recovered miles from home.”

Fortunately, vigilance and a few simple precautions can help prevent tragedy this Independence Day.

American Humane is sharing veterinarian-approved tips to help keep pets comfortable and safe over the dangerous holiday weekend:

  • Know your pet. Pet owners celebrating their first Fourth of July with a four-legged friend can usually guess if the upcoming fireworks displays will upset them. If loud noises—such as thunder, doors slamming, or cars backfiring—frighten or disturb your pet, fireworks will likely do the same. Owners with sound-sensitive pets should take extra precautions to ensure they don’t escape or experience unnecessary trauma.
  • Create a safe haven. Don’t bring your pet to watch fireworks shows they won’t enjoy. Instead, leave them at home in a quiet escape-proof room or crate. Keep windows closed and draw shades to minimize the sound and flashes of light. For added comfort, consider adding background noise—like the TV or a white noise machine—to help muffle sound along with their favorite toy or chew to distract them.
  • Don’t leave them unattended. If your pet is likely to be anxious, ensure someone is with them to provide comfort and companionship. To reassure them, stay calm and don’t react to fireworks.
  • ID your pet. Make sure your pets are microchipped and have up-to-date identification tags affixed to their collars. If your pet does get lost, you are much more likely to be reunited with them if they have proper identification with your correct contact information.
  • Call the experts. Don’t medicate an anxious pet without first consulting a veterinarian. Contact an animal behaviorist to work with your pets on their fears. With positive reinforcement and behavior modification training, the next Independence Day will be worry-free for the whole family.

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