It’s no mystery or surprise that the 4th of July is a very stressful time for many pets and animals. The sound of firecrackers and rockets bursting can be a little rattling for humans who know and understand what’s going on, much less an animal that is completely overwhelmed by the unknown audio sensory assault on its system. While there are numerous advice columns every year with useful information for pet owners regarding the best way to help their pets through the holiday, apparently many people still aren’t listening. I say this because July 5 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters across the nation.
July 4 Advice for Pet Owners
One of the biggest problems seems to be pets getting left outdoors. Even if your pet isn’t alarmed by explosives and loud noises, it’s a good idea to keep them inside during holidays like the 4th or New Year’s Eve. This can save them from injuries as well as becoming frightened. While it’s not practical to keep them in all day and night, if you’ve got a pet that’s known for its skittishness then take them out for a bathroom break on a harness and a leash so they don’t get away, even in a fenced in yard. Once they’ve done their business, bring them back inside and confine them to the quietest room in the house or, better yet, a basement, if you’ve got one.
Tips for Pet Owners
Another problem is pets that make a mad dash for a door the minute it’s opened. If your pet has a tendency to do this and doesn’t respond easily to “come,” one of the most important dog commands, then don’t give them access to a room with a door leading outside. Once they’re gone, good luck getting them back in the house. They’re on a dead run to escape the madness and, try as you might, no amount of yelling or coaxing is going to change their course for sanctuary. If your pet does this under the best of circumstances, then it’s even more important to keep them confined to a quiet area during bomb-blasting holidays.
Tracking Chips for Pets
Hopefully, if your pet does escape, you’ve had the foresight to get them microchipped and/or have a pet-tracking device on their collar. Many of the newer collars come with apps for smartphones, so you can locate them on your own before they end up making a trip to the pound — which undoubtedly will freak them out and traumatize them even more. Chipping and trackers are relatively inexpensive, especially when you compare them to the cost of bailing Fluffy or Fido out of the doggy or kitty hoosegow. It’s really better in the long run for all those concerned, including the overburdened animal shelters in your area, if you do it.
Pet Ownership & Responsibility
While we can lobby for stronger restrictions on fireworks, the fact remains that ultimately it is our responsibility to keep our pets safe. Being proactive and taking steps to ensure their well-being falls strictly within our own parameters, not our neighbors' or fellow citizens'. That’s why it’s so important to keep panicked pets indoors and on a leash when they do need to go out the few times a year when explosive devices are not just accepted as part of the holiday experience but are considered the norm. And, if you haven’t done it yet, look into getting your pets equipped with chips and a tracking device, even for the tiniest of critters, now.