Many people love to celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks, pool parties and barbecues.
What they may not realize is that these Independence Day traditions can cause stress and anxiety for their animals, which might lead to escape attempts and lost pets.
Fireworks, in particular, are a common cause of stress for animals on this holiday. The loud noises can be overwhelming for sensitive ears and may trigger a fear response that causes pets to hide or try to escape.
In fact, fireworks are one of the primary reasons that more pets go missing during the Fourth of July weekend than any other time of year, according to Santa Barbara Humane.
While your pet may never enjoy the festivities on the Fourth, there are some steps that you can take to help keep them safe and calm on Independence Day.
Santa Barbara Humane, which has campuses in Goleta and Santa Maria, offers these tips:
— Keep your pet inside as much as possible. It’s the safest place for them! Animals are more likely to escape if they are already outside. And even if your pets haven’t previously displayed a fear of fireworks, they could be injured by shrapnel.
— If you must have your pet outside, don’t leave them alone. Make sure that there is always someone with your pet who can soothe them and ensure their safety.
— Ensure your pet’s ID tag is securely attached to their collar. If you don’t already have one, tags can be purchased at pet supply stores.
— Double-check that your pet’s microchip information is up to date by visiting www.foundanimals.org/microchip-register and entering your pet’s chip number. If you are unsure if your cat or dog has a microchip, your veterinarian can scan them for a chip to confirm.
— Give your pet some extra exercise during the day. If they are tired out, they are more likely to sleep through the festivities.
— Play music, turn on the television or use a white noise machine to help cover the sound of fireworks.
— Keep your pets busy with a puzzle toy. Working to solve the puzzle to get treats can help distract your pet from the noise and light from fireworks.
— If your cat or dog has a history of excessive anxiety during thunderstorms or fireworks shows, speak to your veterinarian. They may be able to prescribe sedatives to help your pet through the weekend.