Well folks, it’s that time again, and here I am with my headphones on, prepping for one of my very least favorite days of the year.
That’s right. You guessed it. The 4th of July! Just look at me. All decked out with my headset, and my thunder jacket, chillin’ in the backyard. Waiting to pick up grilled cheeseburger or hot dog scraps from clumsy human-types. Aren’t I adorable?
I know, I know. Please hold your applause until the end. My human, Nick Pelletier, also finds me adorable. And he should. Because I am.
But here’s the thing: it is not so adorable when you are hiding and cowering and running indoors in the summertime, the minute it gets dark outside. Your doggie instinct tells you it is the 4th of July, and that means loud and scary fireworks.
Now, as a human, you may think that your pet is being overly dramatic if they wince and cry and run at the sound of fireworks approaching. And let’s face it – cats can be pretty doggone dramatic. (Get it? Doggone? I digress….)
But in this one case, I will stick up for the cats by saying that if your pet – cat, dog, or otherwise – is acting strangely and extra needy around the 4th of July, there is probably a good reason why. Although it’s often tough to find valid statistics on this topic, take it from me when I tell you that there is a very good chance your pet is not a fan of the 4th. And here are just a few reasons why:
1. To human-types, fireworks are part of a national holiday celebration. You expect them to happen, you plan for them, you even drive your cars miles and miles to stand in long lines so that you can stand in random fields and stare up at them. But for your pets, fireworks are unpredictable and unexpected. They are an unwelcome invasion into our routine of eating, pooping, playing, and sleeping. We don’t understand why they are happening, and it makes us very panicky. I’m getting all panicky just typing about it. (let’s forget the fact that I’m a dog, and I’m typing. That’s besides the point.)
2. Fireworks are very loud, and they scare our tender ears. Did you know that dogs, and especially cats, can hear things on a different level than humans? It’s true. Veterinarian Emily Rogell points out that cats can hear and feel frequencies, so “while to us, it’s just a boom – to a cat or dog, it can actually be painful to their ears.” So if your pet is extremely close to the firework display, it may be quite dangerous and cause harm to their sensitive eardrums.
By the way, that’s the last time you’ll ever hear me stick up for a cat. If you ask me about it in the future, I will deny it.
3. Fireworks cause and trigger anxiety. Hey, Im a pretty calm dog, in general. My human and I live on a lake. We are pretty chill types of people and canine. But when that rolling thunder comes in, or those booming and crackling fireworks, immediately I start to tense up and get nervous. I can’t help it. It’s my survival instinct to run away from it and protect myself, and my humans. The problem with that is it’s easy for us pets to hurt ourselves while trying to flee from the unsettling sound of fireworks. Even worse, some pets are so confused by the display and the noise, they will run toward it, in an effort to “help” their owner by “attacking” the noise. This can result in your dog eating a firecracker or playing with one in his or her mouth. Not good. Trust me, we would much rather have those bits of cheeseburger you keep dropping on the ground.
So, as a lowly human, how can you help your pets on the 4th of July? First, don’t force us to stand outside and “watch” a firework display, if we are acting shaky or nervous or needy. Let us wait inside for you, and find us a comfortable and familiar place, along with a favorite toy to play with, or a snack treat. Feel free to give me endless bowls of ice-cream.
Next, invest in a “thunder jacket”, like my human person Nick did for me. (seen in pictures above of me) “It comforts her, by applying soft pressure on her torso and abdomen area, and helps to relieve some of her anxiety. It feels like she is being held, and the light pressure of the material gives in to her natural instinct to lean against something like a wall so that she knows what is going on around her”, said Nick Pelletier, after giving me a bone.
Lastly, you can give us a bit of extra attention, and lots of extra love. Turn on a radio with calming music, or leave someone in the room with us inside while others watch fireworks outdoors. Basically, let us know we are not alone, the noise is temporary, and life will return to normal soon. Doing all or some of these things will help your pet to feel safe and loved during a time when they might feel legitimately scared.
Happy 4th of July, everyone.
You can find more of my dog rantings on Twitter, @DogPelletierTed. Also, follow my awesome human, and the rest of Team Pelletier Properties @PelletierProps on Twitter, and @PelletierPropertiesNick on Instagram. You can also find us on Facebook at Pelletier Properties, Keller-Williams North Central. Thanks so much for reading. This is Teddie the Real-Estate Dog, signing off.