Every year, shelters around the country see an increase in lost pets around the 4th of July holiday. At San Antonio Animal Care Services, we see a large increase in 311 calls for roaming pets, and crowds of pet parents visiting our shelter to look for their lost pets.
The best way to prepare yourself and your pet for fireworks season is to be proactive and mindful of their feelings during this time. To make it easier, we've put together helpful tips to make this holiday less stressful for you and your pet!
1 - Bring them inside
With fireworks and other loud noises, pet can become so frightened that they can escape by any means necessary – whether that means jumping a fence or digging out of the yard. If your pet spends a lot of time in the yard, we recommend bringing them inside the week of and week after a firework holiday. Make sure to supervise your pet when you let them outside while there are fireworks.
2 - Create a safe space
What your pets want the most is a place where they can feel safe. Prepare a calming environment for them to shield them from the chaos outside.
- Access to food and plenty of water. Pets can salivate and become thirsty when they are nervous.
- Calming music (like classical music) or a television to drown out the outdoor noises.
- Crate them or confine them to a single room. It’s important to remember that although pets feel comfortable and safe in their crates, to not close the crate door as this could lead to destructive behavior in attempt to escape.
- Give them their favorite toy.
3 - Tire them out
The week leading up to the firework holiday should be used to tire your pet out. Explore a new park or take them on a nice long walk to get some energy out. Mental stimulation can also be very effective in tiring out your pet. Snuffle mats and puzzle feeders are great, as well as your own DIY toys that you can make with items you already own. Always be sure to supervise your pet when they are playing with a new toy.
4 - Update microchips and tags
Be proactive and update your pet’s microchip and tags. This will help anyone who finds them and our staff to return them back to you should they get lost. Tags can be made at many pet stores at pet tag kiosks. You can find out if your pet’s microchip is up to date by contacting the microchip company you use.
If your pet does not have a microchip, you can reach out to your veterinarian to get it done. It’s a quick and easy process that will help your pet find their way back home! Having tags AND a microchip on your pet covers all your bases in case the collar falls off or gets lost.
5 - Talk to your veterinarian
Some pets get a little spooked, but if your pet experiences significant anxiety and stress during fireworks or any loud noise, consult your veterinarian. Your pet may be anxious if they are exhibiting the following signs:
- Heavy panting and pacing
- Nervous shaking or shivering
- Running or cowering in a corner
- Excessively digging
- Destroying furniture, walls, or doors
- Excessively chewing or licking themselves
- Loss of appetite
- Frequent urination
Veterinarians may have options for pets who suffer from these symptoms. Every pet is different, so although there are many options available at pet stores, like CBD oil and calming pills, we still recommend consulting your veterinarian to make sure this is safe for your pet.
6 - Leave them home
The City of San Antonio has banned large gatherings of 10+, but if you or your family do have plans to host or attend a small party, leave your pets in their safe space. It may seem like a good idea to include your pet (after all, they are family!), but they will likely be stressed by the activity and noise. Don’t feel bad about leaving them home – they most likely prefer a calm indoor environment over a party scene.
7 - No alcohol or table scraps
Many foods that we consume are hazardous to our pets. Alcohol is especially dangerous and can lead to you rushing your pet to the emergency room. Table scraps like bones present other dangers, like choking hazards and allergic reactions. It’s best to keep your pet away from where food is being served and consumed and always have an eye on what they are doing. If you believe your pet has ingested something poisonous, please call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately at (888) 426-4435. (There may be a fee associated with your call).
Screenshot the image below and share these tips with your friends and family. Make sure to keep your furry ones in mind this holiday – let's all stay safe! Make sure to keep your furry ones in mind this holiday – let's all stay safe!