No, your pet doesn't enjoy July 4!

Posted on 6/12/2021 by
avatarBecky Lea

America will be 245 years old next month. Pandemic restrictions are being lifted nationwide. Wow, is it ever time to celebrate! However, your dog or cat probably won't share your enthusiasm, especially when the fireworks come out.

Know the law

In Michigan, fireworks are permitted on private properties only. This means you are not allowed to set them off on the sidewalk in front of your house, or on your street, or in your church's parking lot. Fireworks are permitted from June 29 to July 4 until 11:45 p.m. Usually, they would also be allowed July 5, but only if it falls on a Friday or Saturday. This year, July 5 lands on Monday.

From your pet's perspective

Animals are unaware of the calendar's significance. Dogs typically hate loud noises, including people yelling and fireworks popping and cracking. Your cat has even more sensitive ears and will undoubtedly be traumatized by the racket. This is one of those times where you must read your pet's mind and do what is best for him.

Ways to help your pets through the "celebrations"

  1. The first and most obvious way to care for your pet during Independence Day (and night) is to leave him out of any public fireworks shows. Your pet is a family member, and while you want to take him with you everywhere, there are just certain times when it's best to leave him home.

  2. If you stay home, find ways to celebrate other than shooting off firecrackers in your driveway. Think about laser shows, glow sticks for the kids, giant bubbles, and lots of red, white, and blue decorations the kids can help make. Gather a small group of family or friends around a fire pit in your backyard and enjoy a yummy cookout. If you live in an area with few fireworks, you can keep the commotion down to that of a usual birthday party, and your pet will be happy, not stressed, to join in the festivities.

  3. If you leave your pet at home and head out for a community fireworks display, make sure your next-door neighbor isn't putting on his own (loud) show. If that's the case, you may want to ask a friend to pet sit or stay home yourself. Even if you're present, The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) suggests keeping your animal in a crate or closed room to help muffle noises from outside. Playing soothing music in the room where you have him crated will help. Also beneficial are scents and liquid calming solutions or special vests designed for stressful times.

  4. Ear protection is vital. Veterinarians say that extreme noise can damage an animals' eardrum and the tiny bones within the inner ear. Fortunately, there are earplugs and muffs specially made for pets. A quick Google search will lead you to their websites. They can help dial the loud back a bit. Just make sure you know the proper way to insert the plugs; you don't want to damage your pet's eardrum accidentally. If unsure, check with your vet.

  5. Do not allow your pet outside during the times mentioned above. Get in potty walks about an hour before the celebration begins. Make sure he's well hydrated throughout the evening.

  6. Preparing your pet for this holiday is an excellent time to make sure his collar and microchip, if applicable, are current and legible. If not contained, he could dash out an open door, and you'll have a better chance of retrieving him quickly if his ID is up to date. Note: this is another reason to keep him in his crate until the fireworks have ended.

Animal welfare experts say July 4 and 5 are typically the busiest days of the year for animal shelters. This is due to traumatized animals bolting from their own yards or houses, trying to get away from the loud noises. Don't put your adorable dog or cat through something like this. Instead, use the suggestions above to lessen any stress that Independence Day may bring your best pal and make it fun for everyone.