Help Desensitize Your Pets to Fireworks to Reduce Fear Before the Fourth of July!

Keep your pet happy and healthy this holiday with these Fourth of July safety tips. July 5th is the busiest day of the year for shelters across the country because many pets, frightened by the fireworks, end up wandering away from home. More pets go missing on the July 4th holiday than any other. Before celebrations start, the Arizona Humane Society has a few tips to help desensitize your pets to fireworks and keep them safe this Independence Day weekend.
  • Behavior Modification: You can use a combination of desensitization and counter-conditioning to help reduce our pet’s anxiety however it needs to be done gradually, during times when you can control the trigger.
    1. Play a recording with the sound that your pet fears at a very low level where they show no fear.
    2. Feed your pet high value treats like hotdogs or chicken while the recording is playing, stop feeding the treats as soon as the recording is over.
    3. Gradually increase the volume of recording over several sessions – if your pet shows fear or anxiety during training, stop immediately and start the next session at a lower volume.
  • Proper Identification: Ensure pets have current ID tags and updated microchips. This will greatly increase the chances that a lost pet will be reunited with their owner.
  • Keep Cool: The Fourth of July occurs during one of the hottest months, and panicked pets are subjected to heat stroke. Be sure pets have plenty of shade, fresh water, and keep pets off the hot pavement.
  • Keep Pets Indoors and Distracted: Fireworks and bursts of bright flashing lights can frighten pets and trigger them to flee or escape the yard. This can be disastrous on busy streets, especially in the extreme summer heat. Keep pets away from firework displays and avoid taking pets to firework shows. Turn on the radio or TV to distract pets with severe anxiety.
  • Know Pet’s Whereabouts: Do not leave pets unattended in the backyard as the sound of fireworks can send them over the fence or digging to get out. Additionally, unattended food attracts curious pets onto counter tops or in trash cans. Alcohol and many foods found on your dinner plate can be poisonous for pets.
  • Report Pets in Distress: To report signs of animals in distress this summer, please call AHS' Emergency Animal Medical Technicians™ at 602.997.7585 ext. 2073.
All AHS departments will be closed on Saturday, July 4 with the exception of AHS' animal rescue services, which will be available from 8 a.m to 3 p.m. Please call 602.997.7585 ext. 2073 to request emergency ambulance services for sick or injured pets, or click here to report suspected animal abuse. After 3 p.m., please bring sick or injured pets to your local emergency animal clinic. 

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