By Julia Williams
On Independence Day, most people don’t bat an eye when they hear the pop-pop-pop sound of firecrackers going off all day long, or the thunderous boom of fireworks at night. Not me. As a “parent” of three cats who are terrified of those loud noises, I cringe when I see the garishly decorated fireworks stands popping up on every corner.
I dread July 4th and especially nightfall, because I live right across the street from where my town sets off their fireworks display. Those loud booms are unsettling for me; I can only imagine how scary they are for my pets, who have no idea what those noises mean. Are we being invaded? Is the world ending? Where can I hide? At that first boom, my skittish kitties make a beeline for UTB (under the bed) and I usually don’t see them until morning.
It’s made me something of a curmudgeon, hating the Fourth of July when I should be joyously and noisily celebrating freedom and independence like everyone else. Yet, more pets go missing on July 4th than any other day of the year, says the popular adoption site, Petfinder. Emergency pet hospitals also see an upswing of visits.
So while it’s nice to enjoy the backyard barbecues, picnics in the park and fireworks that have become an American tradition on the Fourth, responsible pet owners also need to take precautions to keep their four-legged family members safe (and as stress-free as possible).
Don’t take Fido to the fireworks display. This noisy, crowded scene can create anxiety and aggression in even the calmest of canines.
If you plan to set off personal fireworks, be sure to keep your dog in a safe location away from the display. Too many dogs have already been burned and otherwise injured by fireworks; it’s just not worth the risk.