If your dog, cat, or other furry friend is afraid of fireworks, he’s not alone. In fact, more pets go missing during the 4th of July holiday than during any other time of the year. In preparation for this 4th of July and its fireworks, here are 7 tips to help keep your pet safe and calm.

  1. Take your pet outdoors to play earlier in the day.

Get outside with your pet before the fireworks begin. Walk, run, or play with your pet to release energy and get exercise. Your pet will be in a more relaxed and happy mood going into the stressful evening.

  1. Create a safe environment for your pet

During the fireworks, keep your pet indoors, in a quiet, comfortable, secure room. Turn on a TV, a fan, or soothing music to block out the noise, and distract your pet with favorite activities, toys or treats to chew on. If your pet has a regular “safe space,” like a crate, make sure he can access it and let him hide. If you are planning on using a space that your pet does not visit frequently, such as a basement, get him accustomed to it in advance.

  1. Identify possible escape routes beforehand

Make sure that you will be able to safely take your pet out for bathroom breaks without an escape. Inspect the fence for gaps and loose or broken boards. Be aware that if your pet is scared and desperate to get away, he may act differently than normal and surprise you with his escape attempts. If you are concerned that your pet will be able to jump the fence or dig his way under it, keep him on leash.

  1. Ensure that your pet can be identified

While we hope that your pet does not get lost, it’s important to be prepared for this possibility. Make sure your pet is wearing clear, readable tags, with your name and contact information, so that you can be reunited in the event of an escape. Consider getting your pet microchipped, and if he is, check that the information is up-to-date.

  1. Comfort your pet

Soothe and pet your furry companion. Act normal and relaxed; if you appear anxious yourself, it will make your pet more nervous as well. If you are going out for the evening, consider finding a sitter to stay with your pet and keep him safe.

  1. Try out an anxiety vest or wrap

Anxiety vests for dogs and cats apply gentle, constant pressure to pets — like a sustained hug — that may calm pets prone to anxiety due to separation, thunder, fireworks, or other stimuli.

  1. Ask your vet about calming medication

Every dog, cat, horse, and hamster is different, and nobody knows your pet like you do. If you are very concerned about your pet’s anxiety during fireworks, talk to your vet about calming medications and products that may work for you.

As noted in the last tip, every pet is different. While some pets may not be bothered by fireworks at all, some will hide under furniture, and others will become very hyper and run around. Pay attention to your pet to see how he is feeling throughout the night and what works for him. 

Wishing everyone a safe and stress-free 4th of July!