For many people, fireworks are necessary for a proper Fourth of July celebration. For pets, however, they can be terrifying. You should be focused on fireworks safety--especially if you're at a DIY display in a city where fireworks are legal--and that includes the care of your pets.
1. Keep your pet indoors. One sharp, sudden bang, and your pet will be ready to run--if your dog or cat is outside, that means they could bolt from your property. Keeping your pet inside means it won't go missing--it's also more humane, because your pet won't be as exposed to the fireworks noise and it won't be outside in high temperatures if you're celebrating somewhere else during the day.
2. Give your pet everything it needs. If you plan on celebrating Independence Day away from home and you do leave your pet indoors, make sure there is plenty of food and water on hand, as well as any pet toys. Water ensures your pet stays hydrated in the summer, and having the food and toys it needs can help lessen anxiety.
3. Create a safe space--but not a crate. An observant pet owner may notice that her pup or kitty favors a certain spot when it's scared. Before the fireworks begin, put your pet's favorite blanket or toy there and make sure the pet can get to the spot if it gets alarmed. You may even want to use a white noise machine or radio that can block out loud sound as well. But it's important to not keep your pet in a crate--being confined may make your pet even more anxious and could lead to injury if it struggles to get out.
4. Watch your pet carefully. If you bring your pet with you to your Fourth of July festivities, you should take it inside when it's time for the fireworks, if possible. If your pet stays with you during the show, you must stay close by--keep the pet leashed and controlled while standing as far from the fireworks as possible. You can also allay anxiety by petting or stroking the pet and speaking gently to him--your pet will feel more relaxed if you are giving off a calm, easy vibe.
5. Ask your veterinarian for help. If you have a pet that's especially nervous and sensitive to loud noises--not just fireworks, but thunder and other sudden booming sounds--you may want to ask your vet about possible medication to use in such circumstances. A vet may also suggest training techniques that help pets adjust to loud noise, but keep in mind these can take time to teach to your animal.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.