Keeping pets safe, comfortable during July 4 fireworks

Photo: Shutterstock/Chendongshan
Keeping pets safe during fireworks
How to help your pets through fireworks

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — It's that time of year to remind pet owners and neighbors alike to be mindful of the furry friends who may not enjoy fireworks as much as humans do.

The Fourth of July can be a tough time for pets, but there are some ways to keep them as safe and comfortable as possible.

The first thing to be aware of are warning signs that your pet is not a fan of fireworks. If your pets exhibit any of these symptoms during the explosions, you may need to take extra care to comfort them:

  • Pacing and an inability to relax
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Hiding in a place they normally don't
  • Howling or constant barking
  • Drooling and loss of appetite
  • Uncharacteristic panting

If you notice these things happening with you pet, it's time to make adjustments. While cuddling and coddling them might be a pet owners first instinct, one expert says that's not the answer.

Meredith Engerski owns the Cottage Animal Clinic in Carmel. She says coddling animals during these times only reinforces negative behavior. So while you may want to hold, pat, or give extra attention to your animals, they associate their behavior with those rewards and will continue to do it.

There are better ways to keep your pets as calm as possible during fireworks shows:

  • Take dogs to a dog park during the day to wear them out. A tired dog is a happy dog.
  • Turn on a TV or fan to help drown out the noise.
  • Confine animals to their crate, a garage or wherever they sleep.
  • Put them in a bathroom with some high-value and long-lasting treats, like a frozen Kong Ball filled with peanut butter or a pig ear treat. Let them enjoy that time and don't get them out until the fireworks are finished.
  • Try to play their favorite games with them, but recognize they may be too stressed out to do this.
  • Stay inside for the duration of the fireworks.

Another important tip is to look out for sneaky pets getting out of the house. If your pets have a tendency to get outside, keep a close eye on them to make sure they don't get outside the home and run away.

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