Every year during Fourth of July, local animal shelters see an uptick in found pets. Those louds bangs and bright bursts of color can make even the coolest cat bolt. Running scared, pets often run far and can get lost. The lucky ones are found by a good Samaritan and taken to the shelter. Some are never recovered. Get an early start and prep your pets for July Fourth, so you can avoid that gut-wrenching feeling when you discover your beloved pet has run off.

Plan Ahead for Your Pets on July Fourth with a Vet Visit

If you know your dog or cat does not handle July Fourth fireworks well, or you are not sure, plan now. A good first step is a vet visit, where your vet can prescribe sedatives if needed. Vets see a surge in people wanting to get their pets medications, so book an appointment now. Then, you will have the medications you need and be ready for the upcoming holiday.

Remember Fireworks Start Early

Another good reason to get any medication your pet might need is that Grays Harbor County allows the discharge of Fireworks from July 2 through July 5. So, don’t be caught unawares on that first day! Many dogs are lost on the days leading up the July Fourth because pet owners forget about people setting fireworks off early. They go for their normal off leash walk at dusk and suddenly, Fido is gone. Also remember that some people do not follow the rules, and discharge fireworks before or after the County allows.

olympia pet emergency
Dr. Blair Burggen at Olympia Pet Emergency can help you prepare for July Fourth celebrations.

The best practice to keep pets safe and inside, shares the volunteers at North Beach Paws in Hoquiam. Starting June 30, when you do take your dog out for a walk, make sure they are on a secure leash attached to a secure collar or harness they cannot slip out of.

Don’t leave your dog unattended in a backyard. You may think your fence is secure, but a frantic dog will often find ways of escape that they normally wouldn’t attempt.

Keep Your Pets Calm During Fireworks

Aside from the trip to the vets, there are other over-the-counter remedies you can try to keep your pets calm and stress-free during the Fourth of July holiday.

  • Keep them at home! Don’t bring your dog to a big firework show and avoid setting off fireworks right near your house.
  • Make sure your pet has a microchip with up-to-date information and a collar with a tag.
  • Put them in secure room. For dogs that are crate trained, they often feel safe and secure in their crate, covered by a sheet or blanket to create a den-like atmosphere.
  • You can give pets calming essential oils. Ask your vet about dosage for your pet, both topically and orally. Some lavender oil dropped on a collar, for example, may help your dog relax.
  • Thundershirts are an anti-anxiety body wrap that helps calm dogs down. You can find them at most pet stores.
  • Turn on white noise to drown out the fireworks. Fans, air purifiers, classical music–soothing music does actually soothe animals too! You can even purchase special music for Dogs if you wish–or the TV, all work as noise to muffle the booms.
  • shetland sheepdog puppy with plastic key chew toy
    Giving your pet a fun toy or chew can help them stay busy and less stressed during Fireworks. Photo credit: Kristina Lotz

    Give them something fun to do. Give your dog a frozen stuffed Kong or hoof to chew on. Your cat may enjoy a puzzle toy or even catnip if it calms them down–some cat’s it calms, some it winds up, do not use if your cat is the latter!

  • Check on them. Be sure to check on your pets often to make sure they are doing okay.

What To Do If Your Pet Goes Missing July Fourth in Grays Harbor

If you do lose your pet, post on any community Facebook groups you belong to and start to search for your pet as soon as you can. Bring something yummy and smelly with you, like canned dog or cat food. A scared animal will often ignore a call from their owner, but if their belly is hungry, that smell can entice them stop running or come out of hiding.

North Beach Paws says to be sure to check their lists of pets found in the community on the North Beach Paws website, under Available Cats and Available Dogs.

Also check out PAWS of Grays Harbor in Aberdeen.

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