Preparing for Fourth of July as a pet owner, how to prevent pet panic attacks

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Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 9:36 AM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The fireworks might be a Fourth of July staple for some, but for four-legged family members, it can be a stressful time that causes feelings of anxiety and panic.

Dr. Tracey Deiss, a practicing veterinarian and Medical Lead for Zoetis, explains that the reaction to fireworks is a response to the loud noise the comes from them. This is called “noise aversion” and it can be triggered through everyday noises as well like vacuum cleaners.

“It is an oversensitivity fear anxiety or stress to noise triggers,”Deiss said. “Obvious ones are fireworks and thunder.”

Signs that a pet is having a noise aversion reaction include panting, shaking, whining, and inability to stay still.

“They feel the need to hide sometimes, they try to escape and in the process, can damage property or actually harm themselves,” Deiss said.

Deiss reminds pet owners that if your pet is having a reaction to the loud noises, do not punish them but rather find ways to create a calming environment for them.

Ways to create a calm space include:

- If you have an indoor pet, find a safe, secluded area away from fireworks, preferably a sound proof room or a closet

- Play calming music

- Stay with the pet until they are calm

- If you have an outdoor pet, if bringing them inside is an option, let them in

- Remove them from the area where there will be fireworks

- Ask your veterinarian or pet specialist for medication to treat your pet’s anxiety symptoms

Fourth of July is also a window when animal shelters see a rise in animal intake, as once the fireworks pop in the sky, pets outside can run away to hide.

Amber Greene, Smith County Animal Control and Shelter Supervisor explains that the fifth of July is when they receive in influx in calls from pet owners who lost their pets after the fireworks shows.

“Well we already know since the fireworks are going to go off on the Fourth of July, that the next morning on the fifth we’re gonna get a an outpour of calls of people missing animals,” Greene said.

Ways to prepare pets for the holiday include getting them a collar with contact information, bringing them inside before fireworks shows nearby or microchipping them so if they do end up with animal control, they can easily contact the owner.

If your pet does run away and you need help finding it, make sure to have a picture to post on lost and found Facebook pages and to help easily identify the pet.

From there, contact the Smith County Animal Control (903) 266-4303 or the City of Tyler Animal Control at (903) 535- 0045 for help finding any pet that has ran away with a description of the pet ready to go.

The City of Tyler also offers microchipping services for ten dollars to pet owners who prefer to take that option leading up to the holiday, or if your dog is prone to running away often.

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