Firework Fear? Help pets feel safe and secure this Independence Day and all summer long!

Wow, can you believe the Fourth of July is this weekend?  It feels like summer is just getting started!  We hope all of our two-legged and four-legged friends have a great weekend with family and friends at patriotic parties and Independence Day celebrations. 

As you’re celebrating the birth of our nation, please keep in mind the well-being of your furry friends.  While most of us can’t resist the spectacular display of an all-American fireworks show, the bombs bursting in air can sometimes be overwhelming for our pets.  Take a moment to read our suggestions for helping your pet enjoy a happy and safe holiday.

Keep them calm, all evening long!

Common signs of noise-related stress can include shaking, panting, excessive drooling, hiding, and trying to run in or out of the house.   Once the festivities begin, keep your pet in a safe room where they feel comfortable.   Both cats and dogs may want to hide under your bed or in your closet; anywhere that lets them feel safe and secure.  Take time out of the day to reassure and comfort your pet.  Play music or other white noise to help mask the sound of explosions. If your dogs are crate trained and enjoy this spot, let them go in, then cover the crate with a blanket; this will give them a greater sense of security.  The same technique can be used with cats and their travel crates or carriers.   Never force an animal into a crate or carrier- this may lead to more stress or even injury if your pet tries to force their way out in a panic.


Maintain current I.D. tags and consider microchipping

Please make sure your pet has a current I.D tag.   According to Home Again microchipping services, more pets go missing on July 4th than any other day of the year! We strongly recommend having all pets (including indoor cats) microchipped in case they escape at any time during the year.  The process is fast, painless, and extremely effective in identifying and returning pets to their loved ones.  LVH uses Home Again microchips.  To learn more about the product and their services, read our in-depth blog on the benefits of microchipping or visit Home Again’s website

Give em a squeeze!

Yes, we’re always encouraging loving on our pets with lots of hugs and kisses.  But around the Fourth, also consider ‘Thunder Shirts.’  These dog swaddling garments provide gentle pressure which enhances a feeling of calmness and reduces anxiety. These garments are available in a variety of sizes and can be found at most pet stores or from their website.

Patriotic dog with sunglasses

Paws off fireworks or explosive materials

If your pets are not fearful of the noise and will be outdoors with you, be sure they are restricted from areas where explosives are lit, set off, and fall.   Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets.  Even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many explosives contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.

While fireworks are especially abundant around the fourth of the July, it is not uncommon to hear them throughout all of the summer months. Coupled with boisterous thunderstorms, this may cause a constant state of anxiety for your pet.  If this is the case, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians to discuss your options.   Your vet may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication to help combat angst.

For further reading on this topic, check out AAHA’s Petsmatter Blog ,  this article by Dr. Marty Becker, and an interesting blog post by The Science Dog on recognizing and responding to signs of fear and stress in dogs.


Leesburg Veterinary Hospital will be closed for the Independence Day Holiday on Saturday July 4, 2015.  If you have a pet emergency over the weekend, please contact The Life Centre in Leesburg.

Have a safe and happy Independence Day Weekend!


3 Comments on “Firework Fear? Help pets feel safe and secure this Independence Day and all summer long!

  1. Hello,

    Our family are new patients. We brought our almost 11-year-old Lhasa Apso “Arwen” in today for the first time. What a beautiful facility! We felt very calm and Arwen seemed more curious than nervous. Much thanks to Miss Krista for being extra gentle with our princess. We were thrilled with Miss Kim and the grooming staff. Instead of being traumatized from being groomed, Arwen was happy and calm. That alone was just amazing!

    Thank you all,

    The Ralston Family

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