This past weekend, we honored and remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Memorial Day is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the precious freedom we enjoy today. As we commemorate this important holiday, we'd like to discuss holiday weekends and pet safety, especially when fireworks and parades are involved.
Keep Pets Indoors
Especially when fireworks are an inevitable part of holiday weekend celebrations, always keep your pets secure indoors. Pets and wildlife panic when listening to firecrackers and related noises. Many become disoriented, run away, or hurt themselves in the effort to seek shelter. For indoor pets that suffer from noise phobia or can be anxious in unfamiliar experiences, keep pets in a quiet area away from the noise and panic-induced self-harm.
Update Tags & Properly Size Collars
Update your pets' identification tags with current contact information and make sure the information is legible from a few feet away. Sometimes, fearful pets can be hard to grab, even if they are otherwise social butterflies. Ideally, the tag info should be large enough for a good samaritan to photograph if they cannot safely touch or grab your pet while helping them find their way home.
When sizing your pet's collar remember that you need only be able to fit one or two fingers between the pet's neck and collar. If it's any looser, it can get caught and become strangulation and other hazards. If your pet is a flight risk, keep your collar on at all times. If not, consider removing collars when your pet cannot be surprised or is crated.
Get & Register Microchips
Microchipping is one of the best ways to prevent pet loss, especially over holiday weekends. We recommend all pets be microchipped as early in their lives as possible. We also recommend you update your microchip registration regularly to ensure that your lost pet will find its way back to you as soon as it's found. If you do not update your information, the microchip will be registered to your veterinary clinic or the organization that injected the microchip, causing delays in recovering your pet, especially over holidays and weekends.
Provide Calming Diffusers & Sprays
Once inside and in a safe space, provide pets with familiar toys, beds, and white noise. For cats, make sure they have access to their favorite hiding places. Consider using calming pheromone therapy like Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats. These plug-ins and sprays are a great way to add an additional layer of relaxation.
We recommend these pet products when leaving pets at home during travel or bringing them along to unfamiliar places and spaces. According to Feliway UK, "as pheromones are species-specific, they won't impact other pets or humans - only the species that gives off that specific pheromone." They are, therefore, safe for simultaneous use in multi-species homes.
Invest in Compression Accessories
For dogs that are extra anxious during thunderstorms, fireworks, and other noisy celebrations, consider compression with a ThunderShirt or similar product. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, when used correctly and properly introduced, compression vests and shirts have much anecdotal evidence and support from pet lovers.
Remember to use treats when introducing compression products and remove them if the pet shows visible signs of stress. Slow and gentle introductions could take a couple of weeks but will work best in the long run.
Avoid Table Scraps
Avoid giving your pet any table scraps during holiday weekends. Many human foods can be harmful to their digestive system but may also pose a choking or poisoning hazard. Stick to their regular diet to keep them healthy and free of discomfort and potential harm. The last thing you want over a holiday weekend is to have to rush your dog to the emergency vet to have a bone removed or receive treatment for pancreatitis.
With temperatures rising between Memorial Day and Labor Day, keep your pets hydrated to ensure their comfort. Pets should have access to fresh water throughout the day no matter the season but increased panting due to fear or anxiety can cause increased thirst.
Consider Supplements & Pharmaceuticals in Advance
It is not uncommon for pets with significant noise phobia and anxiety to require more than previously mentioned. For pets that pose a danger to themselves and others, contact your veterinarian far in advance to request calming pharmaceuticals that can be administered just before noisy celebrations.
For those with less severe reactions, consider a CBD or calming supplement like CBD Dog Health's Calm for Dogs, Cats, and Horses. Winpro's Calming chews are also a great option for dogs that need a bit of relief but don't require pharmaceuticals.
Staying Home During Holiday Weekends & Pet Safety
While it may not be the most fun way to spend a holiday weekend, pets with severe noise phobia and anxiety should be supervised during fireworks shows and other noisy celebrations.
If your plans make it impossible to stay home, however, consider scheduling in-home pet care from our trustworthy and award-winning team at Hearts at Home Pet Sitting.
Whether you're traveling or taking a day trip, we are happy to help with our premier pet care services in the Tabb, Grafton, and Seaford areas of Yorktown as well as Poquoson, Virginia. Contact us by email at Hello@HeartsAtHomePetSitting.com or by phone at 757-745-9868 to learn more. Holiday Weekends & Pet Safety are our priority so count on us when you can't be there. Schedule in advance to ensure availability!