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How To Prepare Pets for Fireworks to Reduce Fear for the Fourth of July

Written by: Kimberly Ring
More Pets Go Missing Around and On the Fourth of July Than Any Other Holiday.

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. The Arizona Humane Society offers tips to help desensitize pets to fireworks before the big celebration.

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.

  1. Play a recording with the sound that your pet fears at a very low level where they show no fear.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Consider a ThunderShirt
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. Learn more about pet heat safety.

Keep Pets Indoors and 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 Pet’s 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 pets in distress this, please call AHS’ Emergency Animal Medical Technicians™ at 602.997.7585 ext. 2073.

This past year, the Arizona Humane Society reunited 748 dogs and cats (17 percent of the stray animals we took in) with their loving families.

The Arizona Humane Society’s efforts in reuniting pets with their families include:

  • A dedicated Pet Reunite Specialist on staff who works with owners to identify and reunite lost pets
  • Microchips all pets prior to adoption and offers owned pets low-cost microchips in AHS’ veterinary clinics
  • Utilizes Maricopa County Animal Care and Control’s Interactive Lost and Found Map
  • Utilizes the Petco Love Lost App by using facial recognition software
  • Offers tips/resources to help find your pet on our Lost a Pet page
July 2, 2021