The 5th of July is the busiest day of the year for shelters across the country and many pets, frightened by the fireworks, end up wandering away from home.
More pets go missing around and on the Fourth of July than any other holiday. The Arizona Humane Society offers tips to help desensitize pets to fireworks.
Behavior Modification. Pet owners can use a combination of desensitization and counter-conditioning to help reduce a pet’s anxiety, however AHS’ Behavior Specialists say it needs to be done gradually, during times when you can control the trigger.
Play a recording with the sound that your pet fears at a very low level where they show no fear.
Feed your pet high=value treats like hot dogs or chicken while the recording is playing and stop feeding the treats as soon as the recording is over.
Gradually increase the volume of recording over several sessions – if your pet shows fear or anxiety during training, stop immediately and start the next session at a lower volume.
ThunderShirts are a calming wrap that applies gentle, constant pressure to a dog’s torso to help them feel safe and calm. It is best to have a pet test the ThunderShirt a few times prior to the holiday.
Proper identification. Ensure pets have current ID tags and updated microchips. This will greatly increase the chances that a lost pet will be reunited with their owner.
Keep cool. The Fourth of July occurs during one of the hottest months, and panicked pets are subjected to heat stroke. Be sure pets have plenty of shade, fresh water, and keep pets off the hot pavement.
Keep indoors, distracted. Fireworks and bursts of bright flashing lights can frighten pets and trigger them to flee or escape the yard. This can be disastrous on busy streets, especially in the extreme summer heat.
Keep pets away from firework displays and avoid taking pets to firework shows. Turn on the radio or TV to distract pets with severe anxiety.
Know their whereabouts. Do not leave pets unattended in the backyard as the sound of fireworks can send them over the fence or digging to get out. Additionally, unattended food attracts curious pets onto counter tops or in trash cans. Alcohol and many foods found on your dinner plate can be poisonous for pets.
Report pets in distress. To report signs of animals in distress this summer, call AHS’ emergency animal medical technicians at 602-997-7585 ext. 2073Information: azhumane.org/lost-a-pet.