SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Fourth of July is an exciting time of celebration for Americans, but not so much for their furry companions. The loud sound of fireworks sparks stress and unpredictable behavior in pets, causing them to escape. In fact, more pets go missing on July 4th than any other day of the year.
"Many animals have noise phobia, so it's a good time to one, make sure your animal is microchipped and that you have a collar with an ID," advises SF SPCA President Jennifer Scarlett.
Noise phobia, or the excessive fear of a sound, can be especially severe for dogs. Luckily, there are multiple ways to help soothe your pet's fears and keep them safe ahead of celebrations.
"If you're in an area that you know is going to have fireworks, and you know your animal is scared...get out of town," says Scarlett. "That's the easiest thing you can do."
Can't get out of town this year? Scarlett recommends visiting your veterinarian to pick up medications like anti-anxiety and tranquilizers, which alleviate your pet's fear response.
Other ways to calm pet stress include:
- Playing music to drown out firework sounds.
- Comforting your animal by petting and staying nearby.
- Setting up a calm, quiet space/room for your pet during parties.
- Asking a friend or neighbor to supervise your pet while you're out.
- Taking your dog for a long walk or run ahead of celebrations.
- Behavioral therapy to desensitize.
In addition, keep your pet on a normal diet during holiday parties. Remember that chocolate, onions, and avocados can be toxic if your pet ingests.
"If your dog or cat is on a special diet, don't let the neighbors, the relatives, give them special treats," adds Scarlett. "Make sure everything is put away. We have a lot of dogs that are counter surfers."
"Lastly, make sure that they're all wearing identification and or a microchip, just in case they get away or become scared with all the noise," says Scarlett.
For more information and resources to keep pets safe this July 4th, visit here.
For general information about the San Francisco SPCA, visit here.
Go here to contact a veterinary behaviorist to assist your pet.