Every year more than 10 million pets go missing. This terrifying reality becomes more intense around one of our largest national celebrations- July 4th. Animal control officers across the country report more pets go missing on July 4 and July 5 than any other time of the year, with many of those animals lost forever. For those that own pets this may be instantly recognized as a troubling day for them but those without pets may still be wondering why pets are so against a good time and celebrations. Unfortunately for our furry friends it’s a day that brings loud, flashy, and downright scary fireworks. If you think about it this actually shouldn’t be too surprising, randomly hearing loud noises and fire in the sky… with no context… would rightly scare anyone.
While human beings generally aren’t concerned about the prospect of danger as it pertains to fireworks they are intimately involved with their pets health and well being and when a beloved pet goes missing it is usually a bad day for all involved. Once fireworks start to go off many dogs and pets will run and hide inside the house; but there is always a large number of them that will jump the back fence, slip out a door, or even jump out of windows to ultimately escape and wander the streets unsupervised. Some animals will run to a neighbor’s house, some will end up in a shelter and unfortunately many others will go missing permanently. Because the risk of an escaped animal getting injured or never returning is so great on one day in particular, we started to think, what can someone do to help their pet get through the 4th of July jitters.
Preparing your pets for 4th of July jitters
Knowing your pet gets nervous, anxious or scared during the 4th of July is just the beginning, preparing for this eventuality is the next step. While there are a number of different things that people have found that help their pets cope with anxieties, we have laid out some of the most popular solutions below. Not all solutions will work for all the different types of pets, for instance an anxiety vest may not be the best idea for a cat no more than it would make sense to put your pet turtle on a leash and go for a run. There are a number of things that have recently become available that just might help more than options we have had in the past. While these new solutions seem to be doing the trick for many, there are a lot of people looking for ways to calm their pet ahead of July 4th. One thing we have seen over the years is supply and availability of these products dwindle around late June as people prepare for the 4th of July holiday. It’s important to get the supplies you need early so you’re not left scrambling at the last minute, your furry companion will thank you.
CBD oil for pets
This may come as a surprise for some but for those that know, they swear by the ability of CBD to calm and control a pet’s fears and anxieties. You can purchase a multitude of CBD oil tinctures and treats for pets from many online retailers like DiscoverCBD.com. Discover CBD also has brick and mortar retail stores in Colorado, New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Texas.
“We sell hundreds of our CBD oil dog treats starting in the middle of June to the 4th of July,” said Melinda Bloch, COO of Discover CBD. CBD oil can be useful for many different animals and is typically priced around $20 for a small bottle that you can easily add to pet food or a favorite treat.
These vests you can put around your dog may help by making them feel cuddled and surrounded in protection or maybe they just give dogs more confidence when they look good in the clothes they wear, regardless these seem to help many dogs remain calm. There are a number of brands out there selling these devices such as Thunderworks and Anxiety wrap. You can even make your own wrap for your puppy if you’re the DIY type. We found instructions online on how to do this at K9ofmine.com. If you have no interest in getting crafty you can pick one up online at Thundershirt.com for around $45.
There are a number of medications available for pets to help them stay calm. You can now get most medications online via websites like Chewy.com or PetMD. The one thing we do see is many of these medications can make your pet drowsy or lethargic and so that is why we would suggest natural solutions such as CBD oil for pets before going to the extreme of drugging your pet. While many people will report that anxiety vests and CBD oil actually work better than medications there will always be that percentage of pets that will show clear benefits when using these drugs.
CBD, Wraps and Medications, not just for 4th of July
Anxiety in pets is a common issue and not simply centered on a single day of the year. Many pet owners are looking for long-term solutions to help their furry companions feel at ease and comfortable in their daily lives. Using one or more of the above solutions can also help with more mundane issues and can work on a variety of animals.
“We have customers that use our CBD products for all different kinds of animals from domesticated dogs and cats to birds, rats, horses and even wolves at a nearby sanctuary,” Bloch said. If your pet struggles with things like separation anxiety, vehicle anxiety, uncontrollable shaking etc it’s likely that the suggestions above or the tips and tricks below will provide some relief.
Tips and tricks to have a calmer pet
Tips and tricks that require no investment are always a great way to help your pet cope with undue stress or anxiety too. Below are some of the free things that pet owners have found that helped them over the years with their pets.
Music or Ambient sound
Playing some gentle music or even just leaving the TV on can help pets feel less anxious in much the same way it can help humans. The American Kennel Club suggests isolating your pet in a centralized room in your home with soothing music and familiar items to make them feel safe during known high stress situations.
This may seem like common sense but we didn’t want to leave it out. Simply holding and hugging your pet from time to time is not only wonderful for us but it’s also great for your pets (well, most pets). When people are scared this is a natural response, and for pets it’s a natural response as well, everyone likes to be held from time to time.
Your pet may benefit from some exercise. Exercise in both humans and animals has been found to be very helpful in reducing stress and anxieties. The simple truth is it’s difficult to expend energy on being anxious when you’re tired. Take your dog out for a walk or spend some time playing with your furry best friend and later on in the day when the fireworks are active they will likely be tired and may even sleep through the chaos.
Many animals will have a location in your house that is their “safe spot” if it’s not on your lap. Dogs in particular are often found in corners or under blankets on the bed. Take a look at these spots your pet likes to frequent and make sure it is comfortable, warm and inviting. This may mean adding a few blankets to the mix or even a pillow or their favorite chew toy. The more comfortable they are, the better they will cope with any kind of anxieties or stresses.
Don’t take pets to see fireworks
This may be a no brainer for most but let’s just say it anyways, don’t take your pets to go see fireworks. For a pet with no context this is akin to a warzone and so regardless of how much you may want to take your loving companion with you to festivals, fireworks shows or other 4th of July festivities it’s probably best to leave them at home where they feel safe and secure.
Be proactive with your pets safety
While implementing the advice and tips and tricks above will help many, some animals will still escape. Being prepared in the event your pet does escape greatly increases your odds of getting your furry friend back.
Make sure your pet has a collar and tags that allow anyone to contact you if they find your pet.
Microchip your pet
While this certainly isn’t an option for all pets it’s a good idea for those pets that can have this done. Chips are great in case your pet slips the collar, and this is more common and easier for animals than you might think.
Do your research
Locate your local animal shelter so you can quickly and easily check them if your pet does go missing. The longer any pet has to spend at a shelter, the more traumatized they are going to be. Initially it is important to form a search party and scatter across the neighborhood with a picture of your pet. The scatter approach allows you to cover more ground faster as you will not know what direction your pet went. According to the non-profit group American Pets Alive, 70 percent of lost dogs are found less than a mile from their homes.
Humans can and often do appreciate the celebrations that take place every 4th of July but our animal counterparts often do not. You may not be able to completely get rid of your pets anxieties surrounding fireworks and loud bangs but as long as you plan ahead and implement the strategies above you can likely keep it at a minimum. Your non-human counterpart may thank you.
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