Humans love fireworks. The spectacular displays are breathtaking. Nothing goes better with New Year's Eve and the Fourth of July than Fireworks - except maybe Champagne. But, neither are good for pets. More pets are lost during the 4th of July than any other time of the year. They don't seem to know the difference in a pretty light show and actual bombs bursting in air. That makes it pretty frightening for them. For all they know, terrorists are bombing their neighborhood, and they react accordingly.
Since we can't explain to them that they're not under attack from Alien Rats from Outerspace, the next best thing is to give them a bomb shelter. Bring your pets inside when the fireworks are on display.
Some pets can be destructive when they are frightened. Cats will usually find a hiding place under the bed or other furniture. Large dogs may need to be crated. A blanket over the top of the crate adds an extra feeling of security.
If bringing pets inside is not an option, provide a safe place outside, such as a sturdy dog house. Make sure your pet is wearing up to date tags in case he escapes.
The picture at right is damage caused by a severely stressed dog on New Year's Eve. For the severely anxious, medication may be a good option. Your pet's Veterinarian can prescribe medication to help your loved one and your home get through the night in one piece.
There are also holistic solutions on the market. Many people swear by Bach's Rescue Remedy, a flower essence. Others have not had success using it.
Check with your pet's Veterinarian before giving something over the counter. Many of the medicines people take can be fatal to pets. The Veterinarian can also assist you with dosing guidelines. They will usually give this advice over the phone without requiring an office visit.
For moderately anxious pets, studies have shown that the scent of lavender is calming for animals.
There is also a new item on the market called DAP (Dog Appeasement Pheremone). It plugs into the wall and emits pheremones which are undetectable by humans. These pheremones are thought to have a calming affect on dogs.
If you're home for the New Year's Eve celebrations, playing with your dog can distract him from the noise. He will see that you aren't worried. If your pet is willing, play an exciting game of tug, toss a tennis ball up the hallway, or hide treats throughout the house and let him find them.
Check your yard the day after to make sure it is free of debris. The leftover pieces of the night before fireworks can be a choking or poison hazard to your dog.
Additional ResourcesPets & Fireworks
Anxiety in Dogs Main Page