Fireworks are a spectacular way to celebrate our nation’s birthday, but they aren’t much fun for our pets. They hear sudden loud noises and see flashes of light in the sky that don’t occur every other night. It must look like the end of the world to them!
Thousands of animals are injured every year as a result of fireworks. Rabbits especially are susceptible to fright and can easily harm themselves by thrashing around and trying to escape an enclosure. Some even have heart failure caused by terror.
It’s well worth taking a few precautions to ensure you and your pets both have a safe and happy Fourth of July.
- Get inside: San Diego HRS advocates keeping rabbits indoors, year round, and especially during the July holidays when the heat and noise outside can be overwhelming for a rabbit. Make sure rabbits have a “bolt hole” or a safe place where they can retreat, inside their enclosure or somewhere in the house if they are free roaming. They need to feel secure in a dark, enclosed and quiet place, such as a carrier or cardboard box, during the worst of the noise.
- White noise: If your pets are particularly nervous, try playing a radio at a level that will cover the noise of the fireworks so that the sound is constant, rather than a loud bang here and there. You can also accustom them to the noise by playing a radio a few days before the event, gradually increasing the volume until the culmination of the fireworks.
- Block out the lights: Draw the curtains to block out the visual display of the fireworks going off, and turn on the TV or radio to provide distraction. Be sure to check on your pets regularly and reassure them that everything is okay. If fireworks are going off close by, stay with your pet and reassure them until it passes. If you are going out for a party, try to get someone to stay at home with your pets to reassure them and make sure everything stays safe.
- Fireworks safety: It’s not just noise that’s the threat. Practice fire safety. Don’t let pets out into the garden at any time. Fireworks can be thrown over walls or hedges into a yard, so keep a close eye out for stray sparks or fireworks that could cause a fire. Keep all pets away from matches and fireworks, especially ones that are lit on the ground. Curious pets may try to sniff or eat fireworks, and pet hair can easily catch fire if they get too close. Be sure to have the phone number of an emergency vet at hand in case there is an injury.
- Take a chill pill: If your pet is so nervous as to become ill at the mere thought of fireworks, herbal remedies, such as Bach’s Rescue Remedy, help calm pets.