With Independence Day (4th of July) coming right around the corner, you may already be worried about how your pets will react to the loud fireworks. At West Park Animal Hospital, we know how important it is to make your pets as comfortable as possible during this time. Our hospital is in a wonderful area surrounded by communities such as Westchase, Keystone, Odessa, and Oldsmar where families often celebrate the holiday with parties and fireworks. We will be sharing some tips and tricks to help you and your pet prepare for the 4th of the July festivities as much as possible.

As much fun as it is to bring your pet along with you for the 4th of July festivities, it is best to leave your pet at home or in a safe, comfortable space until you know how they will react to the fireworks. Some pets, who otherwise would be quite happy around crowds of people or outdoors may become startled by the loud noises and bright lights associated with fireworks and may attempt to run away potentially injuring themselves, you, or other people in the escape attempt. Even if your pet does not try to run, they may become quite anxious, and even overheated with all of the firework commotion. Ultimately your pet will be much happier indoors and much safer as well.

The next big goal, is to set up an environment where your pet is as comfortable as possible so they are less sensitive to the noise coming from outside. Start by exercising your dog or cat early in the day. A nice long walk for a dog or a game of chase the string for your cat will exhaust some extra energy and help them feel more relaxed in general. Next, close any blinds and turn on the TV and/or radio to drown out some of the light and noise stimuli. If your pet generally feels safer in a crate, allow them access to this space. Even covering the crate may help your pet feel more protected. You may also try some natural pheromones such as a Feliway diffuser for cats or Adaptil collar for dogs to create a calming effect for your pet.

Finally using treats or toys as distraction during the firework events can be quite effective for some pets. Kongs stuffed with peanut butter or pet hide boxes filled with kibble are some of the best toys to provide the longest, consistent distraction. If your pet would prefer to play an indoor game with you or other pets in the household, encourage that as well. Just a little extra attention from their favorite family member may go a long way during this stressful time.

If you have tried these tricks in the past and still have a stressed-out pet on Independence Day, it is best to bring your pet to your veterinarian and discuss further options on how to prepare your pet for fireworks or other loud noises. Some pets may need medication for anxiety in addition to these other techniques to help them feel truly relaxed. The veterinarians at West Park Animal Hospital are highly trained on this topic and can work with you to develop a medication and environmental control plan tailored specifically to your pet. There is even a newer medication, called Sileo, that has shown a lot of promise in helping pets deal with noise. Our veterinarians will take time to get to know your pet and help select the best options for them. This trip to the vet may also give you an opportunity to make sure your pet’s identification tags and microchip information are up to date as well.

If you’re looking for a vet in Keystone and Westchase to help you and your pets during the holiday festivities we’d love to have you visit our hospital and meeting our caring veterinarians. You can make an appointment by calling us at (813) 749-6863, or book an appointment online through out website.