Reminder Folks!!! More pets end up in animal shelters during and after the 4th of July than any other time of year because fireworks scare the bejeezus out of them.

Frightened dogs tend to bolt and run for long distances until they get far away from whatever scared them (usually the noise + flashing lights).

And if the fireworks keep going off, the dog will keep running. Even if you stay home and cookout in the backyard, your presence won’t prevent your dog from bolting once the fireworks start.

But keeping your dog safe and calm during the 4th of July celebrations isn’t beyond your control… Here’s what you can do to prepare yourself!

Tip #1: Exercise Before the Celebration

Wear your dog (or cat) out three to four hours before the celebration, that way he or she will feel relaxed the same way one would feel after a big meal.

Tip #2: Feed Your Dog a Big Meal

Feed your pet a big meal an hour or two before the celebration starts, by doing this your furry family member will feel more relaxed and content.

Tip #3: Cuddle The Fears Away

If you end up staying inside for the celebration it’s important to spend quality time with your dog or cat both during and after the fireworks. This will cause their excitement to calm down and let them know everything is ok and the fireworks are over.

Tip #4: Create a Safe Haven 

Keep your pet inside and create a safe space for him or her. Remove all objects that could cause harm because when dogs or cats are frightened they tend to get destructive. Also make sure their go-to hiding spot whether that’s under the bed or in their kennel is clean and accessible. DON’T pull them out if they’re hiding, just comfort them. It may be helpful to put down some training pads in case your dog has an accident if they get too excited. If at all possible you can also take your pet to a friend’s house, especially if fireworks are close to your house. Taking your pet to a friend’s can decrease the noise, so it won’t be as loud for them. Lastly, close all curtains, blinds, windows and doors to keep the bright lights, flashes and loud booms to a minimum. Make sure everything is securely locked.

Tip #5: Massage Their Fears Away

Massages are one of the most relaxing and calming mechanisms to calm anyone down. If it works on you, try it on your pet! Lay them down and massage their legs, shoulders, neck, back and tips of ears. This is a great way to reduce your pet’s anxiety.

Tip #6: Provide Some Distractions (or White Noise)

Keeping your pet distracted with toys, television or the radio is a great way to calm nerves and divert attention away from the fireworks. You can give them a rawhide, a treat, or even play or cuddle with them.

Tip #7: Calm Your Pet With Natural Remedies 

There are so many calming sprays out there to calm both dogs and cats during times of stress. If they have a severe reaction, reach out to your vet and get a prescription. Otherwise any type of over the counter or DIY (at home) natural aromatherapy oil like lavender or catnip (which reduces stress) is a great substitute! You can spray it on a bandana or cloth and tie it around their neck or collar.

Tip #8: Be Prepared!!!

Make sure your pet’s ID tags are up to date with its name, your name and your address. Buy your dog or cat a license if it runs off during the fireworks and gets picked up by animal control. Doing so will let animal control know that the animal has an owner and they will call you to let you know they have your dog/cat. You also won’t receive a huge fine to get your dog and/or cat released.

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