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Keeping Your Pet safe on Independence Day

As much fun as it is for humans, Independence Day can be extremely traumatic for pets. Extra consideration should be given when adopting a pet around this holiday. On top of getting to know his new home and family, the added noise and commotion of fireworks, and/or party gatherings can be overwhelming for the newly adopted cat or dog. What can I do?


• Keep your pet indoors. Select a room most insulated from the noise outside. Turn on the TV or radio to provide some background noise. Close the curtains. Provide a protective comfort zone such as under a bed or an open closet for your cat (place food, water and litter box nearby), or kennel for your dog. Place a blanket with familiar smells in this area to help soothe your pet.

• If you are having a party, keep your pet out of the middle of the festivities. Discourage guests from feeding your pet scraps from the barbecue – rich, unfamiliar foods can add to your pet’s discomfort.

• Use a leash or carrier. If your pet must go outside, keep him on a leash or in a carrier at all times. A sudden noise can send him bolting.

• Give your dog a chance to go potty before the fireworks really get underway. He may be too scared to go later.

• Make sure your pet is wearing ID. If the worst happens, and your pet gets loose, proper identification gives him a better chance of getting home safely.

• Practice fire safety. Keep your pet away from ALL fire activity. This includes fireworks, matches, grills, etc. Pet hair can catch fire easily. Spent fireworks on the ground can remain hot for some time, burning a curious pet’s nose, mouth or foot. If this is your first Fourth of July with your pet, try to be there for him as much as possible to observe his tolerance for the holiday. Some animals don’t seem to mind fireworks, others tolerate them with their owners nearby, and there are some that just can’t be soothed.

Be sure to start your relationship with your veterinarian as soon as possible after adopting your pet. Consult your veterinarian for advice if your pet falls in the “can’t be soothed” category before the holiday comes around again. Although tranquilizers are not for every pet, this is an option your veterinarian can discuss with you. Have a safe and happy fourth!