JACKSONVILLE, Fla — As the 4th of July approaches, the Jacksonville Humane Society is sharing tips for pet owners on how to keep animals happy during the fireworks celebrations.
Dogs and cats can experience an increased amount of fear, anxiety, and stress on holidays where fireworks are a part of the celebration. JHS states that recent studies have shown that nearly half of all dogs are frightened by fireworks.
Luckily, there are simple ways to ensure that your pet feels safe and gets through the night with minimal stress.
Prepare your pet and home.
Making sure your pet feels safe and secure at home is the best way to prevent potential issues from arising during a noisy holiday. Make sure your pet has a safe spot to relax in throughout the night. This can be a soft, cozy blanket for them to lay in, a toy, or an enrichment activity that keeps them busy and entertained.
Keeping curtains and windows closed can also reduce the amount of noise and light that can trigger your pet. Rewarding your pet for calm behavior and reassuring them through a soft-spoken tone and gentle pets can help, too.
Before the holiday, ensure your pet is microchipped and that your contact information is up-to-date if your pet becomes fearful and runs away during the celebrations. JHS also recommends signing up for Petco Love Lost, a free reunification tool for pet owners.
Keep your pet inside.
Pets are easily scared of loud noises like fireworks, and attending fireworks events on Independence Day can cause unnecessary stress and increase the chance they may run off and become lost.
If you are attending a July 4th event, leave your pet at home in their safe spot.
Consider anxiety-aiding tools.
Some furry friends need a little extra help than others to stay calm during noisy events. Whether it’s a compression jacket, CBD treats, or anxiety medication prescribed by a veterinarian, using additional tools to not only relieve your pet from stress but also ensure their safety.
Keep your pet hydrated and fed.
An increase in loud noises and flashing lights can scare your pet so bad they’re too afraid to get up for food or water. Fear on an empty stomach can worsen your pet’s reaction to fireworks or other sudden noises, so JHS recommends to keep the snacks coming.
Increase activity and enrichment before the holiday.
Giving your pet an active and productive day can also make it easier for them to rest at night during firework festivities. This can look like taking them out for two or three walks before the sun goes down, taking them to explore a new place, having extra playtime, or even going on a beach day.
Enrichment activities such as slow feeders, Kongs, or towels with treats in them can also help your pet work off energy.
For folks without pets, now is the perfect time to consider adding one to your family! JHS is offering free adoptions through July 4, and additional free and reduced adoption events will take place throughout the month of July. Keep an eye on https://jaxhumane.org/upcoming-events/ for adoption specials.