The busiest intake day for shelters around the country is July 5th. Estimates run as high as 30 - 60%, with a shelter in Massachusetts reporting an 80% uptick on July 5th, 2014. If those statistics aren’t sobering enough, here are some more. Less than 13% of lost dogs and 2% of lost cats are ever reunited with the families that lose them. Simply put, fireworks are so terrifying for pets, that many of them will bolt from the house in a blind panic to escape what they perceive as an artillery barrage. Our pets do not understand our fascination with fireworks, and their hearing is far more sensitive than ours. Let’s face it - fireworks are explosions! Is it any wonder that our pets don’t like them?
As the fireworks get started, place cats in a separate room with lots of hiding places. Leave closet doors open, allow access to areas under beds and behind furniture, and make it abundantly clear to guests that this room is off-limits. Consider crating or boarding anxious dogs if you cannot confine them to a separate part of the house. Turn on the television or some classical music to drown out the noise, and provide them with interesting activities to occupy their minds. For cats, try food puzzles or an interactive toy. Dogs are often content with a Kong toy that has been stuffed with canned food and placed in the freezer. These “popsicles” keep our dogs busy for hours. Do not bring dogs to fireworks displays, as they are likely to panic and get away from their handlers. If your pet has a history of fireworks anxiety, consider asking your vet for some anti-anxiety medications. These can take several weeks to achieve the desired results, so do this now, while you still have time to plan ahead.