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Happy 4th of July!

 by lucy on 04 Jul 2017 |
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Who doesn't love the 4th of July? From the food to the fireworks, Independence Day is fun for the whole family - at least the human family. To pets, the 4th of July can be confusing and terrifying. While humans associate fireworks with spectacle and celebrations, cats and dogs see and hear them as nothing more than sudden loud noises. Holidays for humans can involve inviting new friends and family members into their homes; to a pet, this might feel like an invasion of privacy. A few adjustments to your holiday celebrations can make sure that the day is fun for both pets and their owners.
 
For most household companions, cat and canine alike, fireworks pose the biggest source of fear on the 4th of July. Humans like the spectacle of bright colours and lights, anticipating the bang as they explode high up in the air, but to a dog or a cat, it can be very sudden and frightening. Some pets completely ignore fireworks, but others find them extremely distressing. Fortunately for both you and your furry friends, there are lots of simple ways to reduce your pet's stress levels during firework season.
 
1) Keep your pet inside. If your cat is normally an outdoor cat, make sure the outside doors and cat-flaps are closed and that they have access to an indoor litter box. Take your dog for a walk long before the fireworks are due to start. If guests are going in and out of the house frequently, make sure doors are shut firmly to make sure your pet can't escape, and ensure your pet is microchipped and tagged in the event that they do escape.
 
2) Make sure there is a safe space for your pet. Dogs might seek out a place to hide under a piece of furniture - if you know where that may be, put comforting objects like their favourite toys or a piece of clothing that smells like you there ahead of time. A cat might find their own safe space, but if you know of a favourite place they like to hide ensure that it's not blocked off when the fireworks start so they can hide as soon as they need to. Don't try to coax them out - it will only make them more anxious.
 
3) Close the curtains and turn on the television or radio. This will help to block out the sound and lights from the fireworks. Your pet will still hear the loud noises from outside but they'll be muffled by a noise they're very used to - human voice.
 
4) Let your pet move around if they want to. Pacing and circling is a common stress behaviour in dogs - they might be restless or looking for a place to hide. Restricting this movement will only make them more afraid.
 
5) Act natural. Try to show your pet that you aren't reacting fearfully to the fireworks, so neither should they.
 
Another thoroughly enjoyable part of celebrating Independence Day for human beings and animals alike is the food. It's hard to resist the temptation to sneak a treat from the table to feed your pooch when they hit you with the puppy eyes. Unfortunately for both dogs and cats, there are quite a few foods that you might be preparing around the 4th of July that can be harmful to them. Grapes, raisins, onions, avocados and chocolate are some foods to both dogs and cats. If your celebrations involve alcohol, keep it far away from pets as all kinds of alcoholic drinks can cause serious inebriation due to their comparatively smaller size and lack of tolerance to alcohol.
 
To prevent your pets accidentally eating something they shouldn't be, keep the food away from the pets and the pets away from the food. Make sure plates and bowls of food remain out of reach on a worksurface or table and keep a close eye on inquisitive cats. Shut your pets indoors if you're barbecuing or in a room separate from where the food is being prepared and served, far away from anything they could accidentally eat that could do them harm.
 
As nice as the idea might be to include your pets in celebrating the birthday of America, their safety comes first. Keeping them calm and healthy is your best bet for ensuring everyone, human and animal alike, has a enjoyable day.

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