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Protecting Pets From Fireworks and Emergencies

Reviewed by: Dr. Steven Knauf, D.C.

By: Genevieve Cunningham

Protecting Pets From Fireworks and Emergencies

Pets are companions, friends, and members of the family. For children and adults alike, pets improve our entire lives. We try to include them in many of the things that we do. Hikes, park days, playing outside—we like to bring them along for the adventure.

But some activities are too much for pets. Think of Independence Day. With fireworks popping everywhere, many animals go into hiding or get lost. It’s tough being a pet.

Your neighbors at The Joint Chiropractic understand your furry friends’ health and welfare is important, and the better they are, the better you are.

Luckily, protecting your pets from fireworks or extreme weather is simple. Just a few precautions might keep your pet safely at home where they belong.

The impact of fireworks on pets

Fireworks can cause a lot of fear and anxiety for pets. Both dogs and cats tend to be particularly sensitive to the flashing lights and, especially, the loud sounds. If your pet suffers from fear or anxiety during fireworks, you may notice particular behavior or habits.

  • Trembling or shaking
  • Excessive barking or meowing
  • Hiding or cowering
  • Running away
  • Resorting to destructive behavior
  • Rapid heart rate

In these moments, your pet is experiencing true terror, and due to the obvious communication barrier, you can’t explain what’s going on. Instead, we have to be proactive in keeping our pets safe and healthy through the noise and chaos. But how?

How to protect pets during fireworks

Protecting your pets through fireworks or other loud noises can be a challenge, especially given their keen sense of hearing. All pets respond differently. It’s important to get to know your pet so that you can provide the best care on an individual level. Some ideas for supporting your pet through it might include the following strategies.

Keep them in a safe space - Consider taking your pet to a safe, secure room inside your home during celebrations that use fireworks, like Independence Day and New Year’s Eve. Place any comfort objects like blankets or toys in the room with them.

Keep it quiet - It doesn’t have to be silent, but consider closing doors and windows to lessen the sound. It may also be helpful to add a radio or white noise machine. You should also close the curtains to keep your pet from seeing the flashing lights.

Desensitize them over time - You’ll have to work on this one way in advance, but it can be very effective. Try using recorded fireworks at a low volume so that your pet gets accustomed to the sound. Help your pet stay calm through it. Over time, gradually increase the noise until they are able to tolerate the fireworks at a much higher volume.

Ask the vet - Some animals have a true noise phobia. In these instances, it may be best to speak to your pet’s veterinarian. Some vets will prescribe anti-anxiety medications to help them get through stressful events.

This may sound like a lot of work, but pets are worth our time, love, and devotion. They provide us with comfort and friendship, and it’s our responsibility as pet owners to do the same for them. It is important to note that there are some situations where keeping your pet with you may not be the best choice. If a storm causes damage to your surroundings, do you really want your pet rummaging through debris? In these situations, it might be safest to board your pet with the local veterinarian or send them safely to a relative. In the long run, the pet’s safety is the first priority.

Protecting pets during emergencies

Natural disasters, fires, evacuations—emergencies can happen for all sorts of reasons. If this spring has been any indication, natural disasters may be on the rise, as is apparent with the uptick in tornadoes. No matter the emergency situation, your pet may need additional love and care. Like any good emergency preparedness plan, the key to keeping your pets safe is to plan ahead.

Include pet supplies with your emergency kit - Emergency kits are good to have in your home. They might include batteries, a change of clothes, matches, candles, and water. If you have pets, it may also be a good idea to have items for them in your emergency pack, or to have an emergency pack specifically for them. Though it might seem silly as you’re putting it together, you’ll be so grateful to have it in the case of a true emergency.

Make sure they have identification - Your pet should always have identification in the form of a collar, name tag, and preferably, a microchip. That way, if your pet gets lost or separated from the family, they’ll be more likely to be reunited with you at a later point in time.

Stay ahead of news and alerts - The more you know, the better prepared you can be, and the more quickly you can act. Make sure you have the news and alerts turned on so that you are in the know.

Stay calm - You probably already know that pets can pick up on distress from their owners. If you want your pet to stay calm in a natural disaster, you have to stay calm.

Protecting your pet in extreme weather

Sometimes our pets need protection, not only in emergencies or special circumstances, but in daily life. Extreme temperatures can be really hard on a pet that stays outdoors for the majority of the time. These pets will need special attention to stay healthy and safe.

In hot weather, animals will need access to fresh water to drink, shade, and if it’s an especially hot day, potentially access to air conditioning. Do not leave your pet unattended for long periods of time when temperatures are dangerously high. They can easily get dehydrated or too hot, suffer from heat-related illnesses, or even suffer from a full-blown heat stroke. If your pet does become overheated, call the vet immediately. As you wait for instructions, you can cool your pet down with cool water (but not cold), and move them to a cooler area.

In cold weather, animals need extra layers of protection, just like their human counterparts. If possible, move them inside. If they can’t be moved inside, make sure they have access to a bed and shelter. Protect them from the wind, and try to keep them dry.

Pets rely on us to keep them healthy and safe. If you have a pet, it’s crucial that you take pet care seriously. Protect them when they’re scared and when the weather is dangerous or extreme. Pets are family. Show them love and care, and they’ll continue to be your trusty companion for life.

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