Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Preparing Your Pet for the Fourth of July

Wonderful question from Pawbly user

"With the Fourth of July coming up, what kind of precautions should we take to make sure our pets are safe and happy?" 

Charlie and Jekyll in their traditional 4th of July attire.
Here is my answer;

Hello Kaelin,
What an excellent question!
Here is what I tell clients.
First and foremost, leave your pets at home. Preferably, under lock and key. 
If you are having friends over leave the pets in a safe, familiar, closed, well barricaded from the outside AND labeled door. At our house we close the dogs in our bedroom (the place where their crate is and they are already used to), put a chair infront of the door and hang a sheet of paper that says "dogs, please do not disturb" sign. This keeps everyone looking for the coat room or extra bathroom out, and my rambunctious pups in. If they still get loud I crate them.
Crate your nervous pups IF, and ONLY IF, they are comfortable and happy in the crate. My dogs are crated whenever I am away. They act like raccoon stuck in a candy store if I don't. If they are not used to being in a crate put them in a closed, preferably windowless, familiar spot that has a place they can hide in. For some fearful dogs this is a clothes closet or under the bed. Let a pet hide if they want to hide. Don't try to force them to leave unless it is for their own safety. A scared pet will do irrational things, like run into a door, a tree, or out a window (regardless if it is open or shut). They will also pull you with them, so be careful.
Pets that like to hide usually prefer dark and quiet too. Put heavy blankets on the crate to buffer noise.
Your pet might benefit from a calming coat too. The most popular is the Thundershirt, but my personal favorite is the Rein Coat.
Wren, my cat, photobombs.
If they want to be with you, or, if you aren't in a safe place to keep them, keep your pet on a very short leash, preferably leashed to a harness versus a collar to allow you better grip and hold. Collars often slip off and then your pet is not only loose he has no visible identification. Find the quietest place possible and try to stay seated until the noise or excitement passes.
Have an identification tag on your pets collar/harness. Have them micro-chipped, and make sure both list current phone numbers and addresses. 
Keep your cell phone with you. If your pet gets away call for help and start plastering social media and local animal hospitals, shelters, and rescues with a current clear photo.
Remember to that there are fireworks and loud noises that start days before, and last days after the 4th. Be prepared for these unexpected firework celebrations.
Even dogs who are normally comfortable with loud noises and crowds get spooked with fireworks. Please keep them at home.
If you have a pet with a noise phobia please ask your vet for help early. Many pets phobias and anxieties intensify and worsen with time. Your pets frantic fearful 4th of July could turn into a manic Memorial Day, loathesome Labor Day, and really unthankful for family visitors come next Thanksgiving. 
Be Safe Everyone!

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If you would like to talk to me in person I am at the clinic, Jarrettsville Vet, in Jarrettsville, Maryland. seeing appointments for any dog or cat concern.

Or find me on Twitter @FreePetAdvice.


  1. Wow your pet is beautiful. And your post is really great. I like your post.

  2. Next year I am getting meds for 2 of my aussies, this year was terrible and I don't want them to suffer the insane anxiety.
    Now we are having bad issues with thunderstorms too, going to buy rescue remedy to try during thunderstorms. Do you have any input on it?

    1. I have not used Rescue Remedy, but I have clients who have been very happy with it.
      Please let me know what you think when you use it.