The Fourth of July is right around the corner and you have probably already heard the random “pop” or “sizzle” from an overly enthusiastic neighbor.  You may have even noticed a wince from your dog or a startled expression from your cat at the unexpected ear-piercing sounds. For our pets, the Fourth is one of the more frightening days of the year.

Summertime is also full of other noise-producing events – namely, those windowpane shaking thunder claps and unnerving streaks of lightning ripping across the landscape. How many of us have had to console our pup or look for our cat, well hidden in the back of a closet, during one of these wild storms?

Thankfully, while the summer brings with it some rowdy, rambunctious, and noticeably thunderous moments, there are effective ways to keep your pet calm during the thick of the cacophony.

Reducing Noise-Related Dangers

As much as we would like to shield our pets from all noises that scare them, realistically this isn’t possible. However, there are ways to both reduce the noise levels and keep the risk of runaway and lost pets to a minimum. Here are a few recommendations to address and prevent risks associated with a frightened pet.

  • Find a quiet, secure room in the home for your pet, where he or she has access to favorite toys, treats, and fresh water.
  • Keep doors and windows securely closed to reduce the chances of accidental escape.
  • Avoid taking your dog to events or activities that are certain to have fireworks, and if you do take your dog (please don’t), never leave your pet in the car, even for a minute.
  • Unattended pets are at greater risk for escape or accidents. Bring your outdoor kitty in for the night and try and stay with your pet during the noise, or rotate “shifts” between family members.
  • Make sure your pet has up-to-date identification tags and microchip information. A microchip is your first line of defense in returning a potentially lost pet safely home.

Tips for Helping Your Pet Stay Calm

  • Interact with your pet by providing soothing verbal- and touch-based reassurance.
  • Use a white noise machine, fan, television or radio to help stifle outdoor noise.
  • Distract your pet with his or her favorite toy, such as a Kong filled with a tasty treat.
  • Cats often find comfort in “hiding”. Find a dimly lit, secured, and cool room for your kitty, where he or she can feel safe.
  • Allow your dog to sleep with you or another family member. When canines perceive danger, they are comforted by being with and protecting “the pack”.
  • Consider using products like the Thundershirt, which has been clinically proven to dramatically reduce stress and anxiety in both cats and dogs. Or Feliway, a pheromone-based product that helps reduce anxiety in cats.
  • Stay calm. Our pets sense when we are upset and this can increase stress in an already anxious pup or cat.

If Your Pet Escapes on the Fourth of July or During a Storm

Sometimes accidents happen and pets get out of the yard or house. If your pet is lost, the first thing you should do is search the neighborhood and notify neighbors. Create a flyer with a current photo of your missing pet, contact information, and the date, time, and location your pet was last seen. Consider posting your pet’s information and image on social media sites to be shared in your community.

You should also visit Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center frequently to look for your pet. (They do not process lost pet reports.) Check Craigslist and local animal rescue groups’ websites, as people often post images and information about found pets. If your pet’s ID tags include veterinary information, notify your clinic. 

If you have any questions about noise-related stress or would like to speak to us about medication or other effective pet calming techniques, please call your Union Lake team today.  We wish you and your family a happy Fourth of July!