The Fourth of July and Pets, How to Keep Your Furry Friend Safe and Calm
The fifth of July is the busiest day of the year for shelters across the country and many pets, frightened by the fireworks, end up wandering away from home. More pets go missing around and on the Fourth of July than any other holiday. The Arizona Humane Society (AHS) offers tips to help desensitize pets to fireworks before the big day.
Pet owners can use a combination of desensitization and counter-conditioning to help reduce a pet’s anxiety, however AHS’ Behavior Specialists say it needs to be done gradually, during times when you can control the trigger.
- Play a recording with the sound that your pet fears at a very low level where they show no fear.
- Feed your pet high value treats like hot dogs or chicken while the recording is playing and stop feeding the treats as soon as the recording is over.
- 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.
Consider a ThunderShirt
ThunderShirts are a calming wrap that applies gentle, constant pressure to a dog’s torso to help them feel safe and calm. It is best to have a pet test the ThunderShirt a few times prior to the holiday.
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.
July fourth occurs during one of the hottest months and panicked pets are subject 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. For more information on lost or found pets, visit azhumane.org/lost-a-pet.
Fireworks Ordinance SB 1275
Signed into law by Governor Ducey in March 2022, SB 1275 allows cities to prohibit the use of consumer fireworks between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. during the days they are permitted each year around New Year’s, Cinco de Mayo and Independence Day. The cutoff starts two hours later, at 1 a.m., for the New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July holidays.
View AHS updated holiday hours, here.