How to Help Your Pets Feel Safe on Fourth of July

To many people, firework displays are symbols of summer. They light up the sky in celebration and we tolerate the loud “boom”s for the duration of the show.

But that isn’t true for everyone. For some people, the sounds that fireworks create can lead to feelings of anxiety, panic, and stress. The same is true for our pets — some may not mind the sound, but many find it worrisome to say the least.

While humans can plan for major fireworks holidays like Fourth of July, our pets can’t, so it falls to us to make sure that they feel safe and comfortable when the show begins. Here are some things that you can do to help your pets feel a little more calm on Fourth of July.

1. Exercise them beforehand

One major way to reduce stress is through exercise, and that’s true for humans and dogs. On Fourth of July (or any other holiday where fireworks may happen), plan for an extra-long walk or run to help your pet burn off some extra energy.

Time your outdoor exercise early enough in the day so that fireworks in your neighborhood won’t be going off. You can’t plan for everything, but a good rule of thumb is that as you get closer to sunset, fireworks and firecrackers are more likely to make an appearance.

The heat in July is no joke, though, so make sure you and your pooch are well hydrated. And if either of you can’t manage the heat for long stretches of time, that’s okay. Instead of doing one extra-long walk, try adding a bonus walk in before sunset. Or, clear out some space in your home and play with them inside.

Dogs aren’t the only pets who benefit from the stress-reducing benefits of exercise, though. Apply the same rule to your cats: Give them some extra playtime early on in the day so that by the time evening rolls around, they aren’t full of excess anxious energy.

2. Try a calming supplement

If you know that your pet is skittish around loud noises, you can support them by supplementing their diet with nutrients to help calm them.

Magnesium, melatonin, chamomile, and hemp can all create a sense of calm for your cat or dog, just as they do for humans!

Use caution, though — human supplements and pet supplements often use different dosages. Make sure that you buy something that is safe for your pets (and that they’ll actually want to eat).

3. Create a cozy space

If your pet has a preferred hiding or nesting spot, spend some time in the morning making it extra cozy. Bring a blanket, their favorite toys, and a bowl of water in.

If your pet usually follows you wherever you go, plan for two cozy spaces — one where they may want to hide if the sounds get really loud and one close to where you’ll be hanging out, as long as you’re inside. If your pet has a crate and they like spending time in there, then you already have a cozy space set up.

4. Use white noise or calming music

One of our clients, a Westie named Dasher, loves his calm piano music. Down the block, Penny the rescue pup listens to podcasts.

Using audio to soothe yourself isn’t just for humans — it can help your pets, too!

Well before the fireworks start, create a playlist of soft music. It can include lyrics or be instrumental; just pick something with a lower tempo and play it at a reasonable volume. If you have a white noise or ambient noise machine, you can use that to cover up some of the fireworks sound, too. Place the speaker near your pet’s cozy spot.

If you’re at a loss for where to start, here are a few options:

However you spend your holiday, we’re wishing you and your pets a happy and safe Fourth of July weekend!

Posted by
Cassandra Corrado