Furry Friends Flee Festive Fireworks

Independence Day Fireworks

Cookouts, pool parties, and…festive fireworks?  For many pets its’s more like, to quote Banarama, a Cruel, Cruel Summer when it comes to fireworks.  Most pets go missing around the 4th of July than any other time of the year.

One in three family pets go missing in their lifetime.  Across the United States, animal care and control services see a 30% rise in lost pets around the Independence Day holiday.  50% of dogs have a fear of loud noises.  When pets exhibit fearful behaviors, you should enlist the help of your veterinary team.  They will discuss medical and holistic options for desensitization or calming methods to deal with these stressors.

Noise anxiety in pets is common

Fear is an emotional and behavioral response to something that could cause or is perceived to cause harm.  Anxiety is not a “typical” reaction that is a persistent fear or apprehension of something that is happening or could happen.  Phobias are extreme, persistent fears of something, like fireworks, the response is disproportionate to the level of threat it poses.   All pets exhibit behaviors differently when it comes to fear or anxiety or phobias behaviors you should look about for are:

  • Shaking
  • Hiding or clinging
  • Yawning
  • Chewing/licking
  • Pacing/running
  • Destructive behavior

Have a conversation with your pets veterinarian about fearful or anxious behaviors your pet is exhibiting.

Steps to keep you pets safe on the 4th of July

Exercise your Pet

  • Play with your cats and walk your dogs.  Make sure pets are exercised during the day and have the opportunity to eliminate outside prior to the majority of the festivities kicking off on the evening of the 4th.

Don’t Take Your Pet to See Fireworks

  • Keep pets inside, they don’t want to see fireworks and you don’t want to focus all your attention on keeping them safe and happy.
  • If possible don’t leave them alone.  If you can’t be home, consider a pet sitter for the evening.

Keep Them Cozy at Home

  • Make sure they can access their crate or safe place and have favorite toys and or treats near by during the show.
  • Turn lights on in the room your pet will be in to minimize the contrast between flashes of light and darkness.

Keep Calm & Carry On 

  • Act normal, talk to your pets in an upbeat voice and go about your usual activities.  Your pet takes cues from you. If they sense that you are confident and unafraid, they will be more likely to respond in a similar manner

Play DJ for the Day

  • Drown out the noise of fireworks as much as possible. Keep your windows and doors closed. Have audio distraction like the radio, television or playlists.

Use Permanent Identification

  • Every pet should wear a collar with tags that have the pets name and at least a phone number of the pet parent.  A microchip should never replace your pet’s collar and tag, but it gives your pet a huge advantage in being reunited with you should they get lost.  Collars can come off, tags can fall off or become impossible to read.  Think of microchipping as a little insurance policy. One in three family pets will get lost in their lifetime.  Cats often do not wear collars, and may not have any other form of ID. A recent study showed that less than 2% of cats without microchips were returned home. However, if a cat is microchipped, the return-to-owner rate is 20 times higher than if the cat was not microchipped.


Microchips are your pet’s permanent ID.  It is the size of a grain of rice and is inserted beneath your pet’s skin.  It can’t be removed or impossible to read.  If your pet gets lost and is taken to a vet clinic or animal shelter, your pet will be scanned for a microchip to reveal his unique ID number. That number will be called into the pet recovery service, and you will be contacted using the contact information on file with your pet’s microchip.

Many microchip and recovery services exist.  It is best to know your pets microchip number as well as the 1-800 number for the company that manages your pets registry.  My pets are microchipped with HomeAgain and 24PetWatch.  Both have helpful information for pet parents on their websites. Click through to  learn more about their products and services.



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