How to help your pets stay calm when 4th of July fireworks start up

For most of us, the 4th of July is a fun day to be with family and friends, barbecuing and enjoying the beginning of summer. We look forward to it.

Our pets, however, not so much. To them, it’s not a holiday at all. Rather, it’s a lot like getting a root canal from a scary clown while someone bangs on trash can lids in the background. It’s not cute.

It’s no secret that the festivities of the 4th make for one of the busiest days of the year for animal shelters because the loud, scary noise of fireworks tends to bring out the “flight” mode in many animals trying to escape the horror of it all. So we see an increase in lost animals coming into the shelter as a result.

Here are a few tips to minimize your pet’s stress and keep them safe:

Stay indoors

Avoid being outside after dark, when fireworks are likely to be starting. Plan any necessary walks for earlier in the day. Although you may feel that you always have a good grip on your dog’s leash, it’s possible to lose control of a panicked dog.

Secure doors and windows

A spooked pet can find ways through a door or window screen that they otherwise might not attempt. Keeping doors and windows shut will minimize the chance that your pet can escape if they get scared, and will block out noise at the same time.

Create a safe space

Your pet may benefit from being kept in one small room. This will help them feel safe and secure. Provide blankets, dens, or other places to hide.

Provide distractions

Puzzle feeders and other enrichment toys will give your pet something to keep their mind off the noise.

Over-the-counter calming aids

Pet stores sell over-the-counter calming chews, treats and sprays for dogs and cats that may have a soothing effect.

Ask your vet

If your pet has severe anxiety that isn’t helped by any of the above tips, your veterinarian can prescribe sedatives to help them get through the 4th. Remember, only give your pet medication at the direction of your veterinarian.

Tag and chip

Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with a visible ID tag, and has a microchip. Check that the contact information associated with both is up-to-date with your current phone number.

Get a ThunderShirt

One other item to consider adding to your pet’s wardrobe is a ThunderShirt. Like swaddling an infant, ThunderShirt’s design applies gentle, constant pressure to calm all types of anxiety, fear and over-excitement issues. My dog Maddie has one, and I’ve found it really helps soothe her when her anxiety is off the charts.

If, heaven forbid, your pet does go missing, here’s what to do:

Step 1: View pets on our website. The listing includes pets currently housed at Pasadena Humane. If you see your pet, please call 626-792-7151, Ext. 975. If you don’t see your pet, please continue to check regularly. The view pets feed is updated every hour.

Step 2: Search for your missing pet on neighborhood’s social media pages. Search for your missing pet on Nextdoor, your neighborhood’s missing pet groups on Facebook and on Craigslist. If you don’t see your pet, post photos and information about your pet on these channels.

Step 3: Post your pets publicly. Post lost pet flyers in your neighborhood.

Step 4: Check Shelters. Visit the shelter in person to look for your pet and fill out a lost pet form.

Step 5: Post it on social media. Post your lost pet on apps and websites like Nextdoor, Facebook, Craigslist, Pawboost, Finding Rover, Shadow.

Have fun out there and be safe!