One of the major highlights of the 4th of July is the fireworks. Every year the fireworks display rules the night with majestic showmanship of lights and sounds. It has become a staple in our celebrations as we commemorate our independence. However, as we enjoy these fireworks displays, our animal friends are not too happy with them.
Part of the excitement for us is the fireworks noise that measures between 150 to 175 decibels. However, due to their sensitive sense of hearing, animals find this noise very traumatic. Why? Animals associate loud noises with danger, and they are hardwired to fight or flee from danger. As fireworks sounds are intermittent, can come in the unexpected interval, and reverberate all over, it is even more distressing to them and sends pets and wild animals alike into a frenzy. The 4th of July is the most dangerous night for animals as they can break loose, dart out doors, and even collapse from a heart attack.
The lights that we all adore can also be anxiety-inducing. There are animals whose sense of seeing is very heightened, which could be adversely affected by all the light that fireworks give off. Let’s not overlook the smell of burned fireworks that can be nauseating even for humans. That smell is 40 times more intense for domestic dogs and 100 times more intense for wolves! Fireworks feel like they’re attacking from every angle to your pet by hitting every sense: sight, sound, touch, smell, even taste of the smoke in the air.
With the 4th of July nearing, here are some tips that you can try to better prepare your animals and reduce the risk of triggering their anxiety:
- For one, if your family is thinking of going to a fireworks display event, never bring your pets. It would be too stressful. Arrange for somebody to take care of them while you are away.
- Make sure that the animal gets some exercise during the day. If they are tired, chances are it would be easier for them to stay calm as all the extra energies have been burned.
- If you live near a fireworks display event venue, make sure that you place the animal is in a safe space where they can retreat from the lights and noise. This could be a room in your house, closet, or an enclosure with proper ventilation and with an adequate supply of drinking water.
- Provide some distractions. To block the noise from outside, play soft music at a low volume. Distract them with their favorite toys and treats especially if they become nervous.
- Use a compression vest such as the Thundershirt, for a drug-free way to reduce anxiety that your pet is feeling. These are available for dogs and cats and there are even hacks online to create your own homemade version with a t-shirt or pressure ace wrap like we use on sports injuries.
- Make sure that they have their updated ID tags or microchips in case they panic and run off. There are usually a spike of lost animal reports every July 5th and proper identification will help you be reunited with your loved pets should the worst happen.
- As a last resort, you can also use some form of medication. Visit your veterinarian and request medication that would help calm them down. Some vets prescribe ace promazine, CBD Oil, Rescue Remedy, or calming Pheromone Sprays. Do not administer any medicine in the absence of a vet consultation.
- Lastly, remember that your animals often reflect your behavior. If you remain calm, chances are, they, too, will follow suit.
Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education and Experience Center was founded in 1993. Incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in January 2001, Shy Wolf strives to educate people about captive-bred exotic animal rescue while helping animals in need. Shy Wolf Sanctuary has rescued over 1300 animals and provided valuable educational experiences to tens of thousands of human visitors from around the world. www.ShyWolfSanctuary.org.