Fireworks. Parades. Barbecues. There’s a lot to love about celebrating our nation’s birthday. For our pets, however, Independence Day probably isn’t a favorite. Noise from fireworks and crowds can leave them feeling quite uneasy.
Help your pets stay calm this July 4th by keeping them in a quiet space away from holiday hustle and bustle. Consider putting your dog or cat in a back room with a radio or TV providing background noise. Some pet owners have found success with ThunderShirts, a vest your pet wears that is said to calm anxiety by applying a gentle, constant pressure, similar to swaddling a baby. For dogs with a history of anxiety, your family veterinarian may prescribe a tranquilizer called acepromazine.
“Acepromazine is most effective when the anxiety is anticipated,” says Dr. Bob Lukas, a veterinarian in SAGE Dublin’s emergency department. “That way, by the time noise or fireworks start, the animal is already feeling calm.”
If you’re home with your pet as the fireworks are going off, you can help communicate that there’s nothing to worry about. By not showing excitement or making a big deal about the noise, your pet may pick up on your cues and accept that they’re in no danger.
Make Sure Your Pet Has Proper Identification
More animals go missing around July 4th than at any other time of the year. The combination of guests coming in and out, owners being away on vacation, and loud fireworks can leave many pets anxious and ready to escape.
Having your pet microchipped increases your odds of having a lost pet make its way back to you. When a lost pet is found, many Samaritans will bring the pet to a veterinary hospital or animal shelter to be scanned as a first course of action. There, a staff member will use a wand to scan for the presence of a microchip. The unique identification number will then be called into a recovery service, where they will attempt to reach the owners.
It’s not enough to simply have your pet microchipped. Chips need to be registered and kept up to date with your most current contact information. If you’ve moved recently, make sure the chip manufacturer has updated the phone number and address they have on file for you.
Animal Hit by a Car? Some Do’s & Don’ts
With so many pets on the loose, feeling both frightened and nervous, it’s unfortunately not uncommon for cats and dogs to be hit by cars at this time. Should you come across a pet that has been hit by a car, whether your pet or another’s, there are steps you should to take ensure the safety of both you and the animal.
An injured pet’s behavior is unpredictable. Look for obvious injuries, but minimize contact and initial movement. As much as you may want to do it, this is not the time to hug your pet or hold him close.
Be aware that your pet might bite when you try to help it away from the accident scene since your pet may be in severe pain,” says Dr. Lukas
Having a blanket with you when you approach the pet can be helpful. It can serve as an oversized bandage, a stretcher for transport, and/or as a body warmer to help prevent the onset of shock.
An animal hit by a car can suffer a wide array of trauma, much of which can’t be seen with the naked eye. Pets may try to hide the fact that they’re injured. Or, due to the surge of adrenaline in their bodies, dogs and cats may not even show symptoms of injury until later. “Even if your dog or cat looks perfectly normal after being hit by a car, they should be evaluated by a veterinarian to assess any hidden injuries,” advises Dr. Lukas
Depending on location and force of any trauma, “hidden” injuries can range from damaged organs and internal bleeding to traumatic brain injury. Waiting to seek medical help can result in additional medical complications that become more difficult (and expensive) to treat.
We hope you that none of you will have a need for this advice, but it’s always best to be prepared for any situation that may arise. SAGE wishes you and your family a safe and happy 4th! SAGE is here for you when you need us! We are open 24/7 – 365, including holidays!