As the Fourth of July approaches, many of us are getting excited about our local fireworks displays. But what about our 4-legged friends? Fireworks can be very scary for our furry friends, as many dogs and some cats seem to view the bangs and booms from fireworks as a threat. Their hearing is far more acute than ours, and from their point of view these noises are unexpected and unpredictable. With preparation, you can help make the 4th of July safe and fun for all! Here are a few tips to help keep your pets feeling safe and comfortable during the fireworks.


-Do not take dogs outdoors during the fireworks display. Make sure they have gone potty well before the show starts, and then secure them safely indoors. Do not bring your dogs to local fireworks displays, as the noise and crowds will be overwhelming for them.


-Cats should be brought indoors well before the fireworks show starts, as the loud noises can spook them and cause them to panic, bolt, and get lost or hurt.


-Make sure your pet has a safe space to hide. Some dogs prefer their crate, some like to hide in a bathroom or small interior room, some prefer to be snuggling with their people. Cats will prefer to hide in a small, familiar space that they view as safe – under your bed, in a favorite cat tree or enclosed bed, etc. Regardless of the space, make sure it is very comfortable with your pet’s favorite bed/blanket, and play the TV or some white noise nearby to help drown out the noise.


-Outdoor/barn cats and outdoor dogs should be confined in a garage or barn so they do not panic and run away during the noise. If possible, play some music or some white noise for them to help drown out the noise.


-Your dog will take cues from you, so be comforting but stay calm. If it helps distract your dog, you can give her special treats or toys that take her mind off the noise.


-A calming wrap such as a Thundershirt can be very helpful for dogs, the gentle pressure can be very calming.


Management strategies alone are not enough for many dogs and some cats. Contact your veterinarian before 4th of July the event so that your veterinarian can prescribe an anti-anxiety medication. Combined with management strategies, these medications can be very helpful in keeping your pet relaxed during the noise of the fireworks.