Fourth of July is a time of celebration for many people, but this isn’t so for lots of pets. The explosions of fireworks can be a stressful time for animals. Across the country, animal shelters receive many pets who run away in fright because of the loud celebrations. Bellingham and Whatcom County have fireworks shows planned, and with them come those famous zings and booms.

It only takes some simple planning ahead to keep your pets as safe as possible during this time. Wouldn’t knowing your pets are safe make it more fun to enjoy the fireworks shows? So here are a few ideas to think about, and put into effect, to make sure it’s as stress-free a holiday as possible.

We recommend:

  • Leave your pet at home. Pets most likely won’t enjoy themselves at the fireworks show. So, save everyone some stress and go enjoy the show with your two-legged friends instead.
  • Make sure your companion animals are home safe and securely kept in a quiet area inside. Sounds like music or the television playing in the background can mask some of the fireworks explosive noise. If your furry friend has a favorite toy, like a chew bone or catnip pillow, having this nearby can help keep them occupied.
  • Consulting with your veterinarian before the fireworks start to go off can help those animals that will be severely disturbed. A pet supply store may sell products that help promote a sense of calm and ease the anxiety that may occur in pets. A little planning can go a long way to making sure your family’s friend isn’t traumatized. If you have any questions about using these products, just ask your vet.
  • Fences or kennels aren’t necessarily the safest places for pets if they’re unattended. Dogs have been known to jump over a fence or dig under it if they truly feel as though they’ve got to escape. And who would want to be enclosed in a cage in what, to some ears, is a war zone? Dogs don’t know it’s not dangerous when they hear explosions. Cats can get spooked, run off and hide, and in their panic they can lose their way home. If you’ve got livestock or other outdoor animals, check that the fences and enclosures are sturdy and safe. Make sure they’ve all got a secure place where they can feel safe and escape the noise.
  • While this should go without saying, it’s good to keep it in mind: Don’t use fireworks around pets. Exposure to these explosives can obviously result in burns or trauma to the face and paws of pets. Also, unused fireworks are full of toxic chemicals, such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals. These are not things you’d want your pets to ingest, as it could be fatal. Keep them safe and away from this stuff entirely, as even the most well-behaved pet might not listen to you if terribly anxious or traumatized by the explosions all around. Here is an interesting article about how fireworks work
  • Keep your cats safe. Even if you don’t identify as a “cat person” it’s a terrible thought that sometimes cats are victims of cruelty at the hands of people. Holidays like Fourth of July and Halloween show an uptick in these cases. Keep your cats inside during this stressful and potentially dangerous time.
  • Make sure your furry friends have collars or a microchip with updated contact information on them at all times. If your animal becomes lost at any time, this is your ticket to finding Fido again. If you’re interested in a microchip, which is a small chip implanted just below the skin that can be scanned by a vet or humane society worker, Whatcom Humane Society offers low-cost microchipping services.
  • If you’re going out of town, hire a petsitter, or a friend or family member to come by and check in. Provide to him or her your contact information and that of your animal’s veterinarian. Include an after-hours or emergency vet just in case. All the better to provide driving directions, phone and a website address, as in an emergency, it’s sometimes hard to think clearly and know what to do.

We at Bill Coats Law wish everyone a safe and  happy Independence Day. Please celebrate responsibly so you can have many more. 

Bill Coats is an attorney located in downtown Bellingham who specializes in personal injury law. If ever you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, don’t hestitate to begin the process to reclaim your rights. Bill helps victims financially recover from such a devastating time. You can find him here for a free consultation, anytime. 

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