The Fourth of July is a popular time to hit the beach, fire up the grill and take in the dazzling fireworks, but for the four-legged friends, it may cause anxiety and confusion — even prompting pets to run away if not carefully attended to.
One New York City veterinarian shares tips and tricks on how to better prepare and protect dogs and cats during a night of festivities.
dr Lisa Lippman, DVM, is the director of virtual medicine at Bond Vet in New York City and a social media influencer when it comes to posting videos for pet parents on Instagram.
“Your dog doesn’t have to suffer on the Fourth of July. People think it’s just something they have to get through, but we have a lot of fear-free methods to help dogs through fireworks, which also carries over for thunderstorms,” Dr . Lippman told NBC New York in a recent interview.
How to Protect Your Pet
For a start, it is best to avoid exposure to fireworks as much as possible. If the home is nearby a display show, create a comfort zone in the house, such as in a well-insulated basement or room without many windows.
If the pet does not mind being placed in a crate, there are ways to build a temporary confined space with cushioned foam.
According to Dr. Lippman, July 4th is the most common time of year when pets get lost. She notes to be sure to close the blinds and check doors are securely locked.
Due to sudden loud noises, pets tend to want to find an escape route, which may lead them to hop fences or run away from potential harm.
One study published by the University of Glasgow states playing specific music genres can calm the nerves of kennelled dogs, such as soft rock and reggae. dr Lippman also recommends playing white noise to drown out the booming sounds.
Over-the-counter options are available like thunder shirts, a type of compression vest, as well as dog appeasing pheromones that are clinically proven to give off a calming scent only perceived by dogs.
Noise-cancelling headphones, such as PAWNIX, are another choice for purchase.
For severely anxious pets, Dr. Lippman recommends making an appointment with the vet before the actual holiday festivities to dodge any problems on the day. Special medications are available for the animal to try to suit their needs.
My Pet May Have Swallowed Something Bad. Now What?
In the mix of gathering with family and friends, catching Fido taking a bite of something potentially harmful may not be easy.
If this happens, Dr. Lippman says to contact a vet through telehealth and ASPCA Poison Control, which is accessible 24 hours a day at (888) 426-4435.
“If your pet is microchipped and registered with HomeAgain [pet recovery program]and you have the microchip number, the ASPCA Poison Control is actually a free phone call,” noted Dr. Lippman, but mentioned telehealth with a vet is an excellent place to start.