Saturday, June 22, 2024

Why July 4th Is Scary For Pets & How You Can Help Them Cope


pets looking at firewords in the sky

The Fourth of July is a day filled with celebrations, but for many pets, it's a source of significant stress and fear. Understanding why this holiday can be so frightening for our pets can help us take steps to make it more bearable for them.

                        Reasons Why the Fourth of July Scares Pets


Loud Noises and Fireworks


Acute Hearing: Dogs and cats have much more sensitive hearing than humans. The loud booms, whistles, and bangs of fireworks can be incredibly overwhelming and painful for them.


Unpredictability: Fireworks are sudden and unpredictable, making it hard for pets to become accustomed to the noise. This unpredictability can cause a high level of anxiety and panic.


Crowds and Strangers


Overstimulation: The presence of many unfamiliar people in their space can be overstimulating and stressful for pets. They may feel threatened by the strangers, leading to heightened anxiety.


Protective Instincts: Pets, particularly dogs, can feel the need to protect their territory and family from perceived threats, which can increase their stress levels when there are unfamiliar people around or having parties nearby.


white/black dog and cat relaxing


What Can Happen When Pets Are Scared


Here are some examples of what can happen to pets when they're frightened by fireworks:


Trembling and Shaking: This is a physical manifestation of their anxiety and stress.


Hiding: Many pets will seek out a hiding place to feel safe. This could be under a bed, in a closet, or any small, enclosed space they can find.


Destructive Behavior: In their panic, some pets might chew on furniture, dig at carpets, or scratch doors in an attempt to escape the frightening noise.


Excessive Barking or Meowing: Pets may vocalize more than usual, barking or meowing loudly in response to the loud noises.


Physical Symptoms: Fear and anxiety can cause pets to lose their appetite or refuse to eat. Excessive panting and drooling are common symptoms of anxiety in pets.  


Escape Attempts:  Loud noises and the presence of strangers can cause pets to bolt in fear. Pets may run away, become lost, or get injured. July 5th is the busiest day for animal shelters nationwide due to the large number of pets that dig under or jump over fences, looking for any way to escape. With guests coming and going, there’s an increased risk of pets slipping out through open doors or gates.

How to Help Your Pet Cope


Understanding the reasons behind your pet's fear can help you take effective measures to reduce their anxiety during the Fourth of July celebrations. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe and calm:


Create a Safe Space: Provide a quiet, comfortable area where your pet can retreat away from the noise and commotion.


Keep Them Indoors: Ensure your pet stays indoors during the festivities to reduce their exposure to loud noises and prevent escape.


Use Calming Aids: Consider anxiety wraps or natural supplements, like Happy Paws Drops, to help ease your pet’s stress.


Update ID Tags & Microchips: Make sure your pet’s identification is up-to-date in case they escape.


Exercise Before the Festivities: Tire your pet out with plenty of exercise earlier in the day, which can help reduce their anxiety later.


Distract with Toys & Treats: Provide engaging toys and treats to keep your pet occupied and distracted from the noise.

Author:  Susan Blake Davis, Pet Nutritionist

Date:  6/22/2024