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In The New Normal, Fireworks Persist

While living with the threat of Covid 19 is creating a so called "new normal", a popular South Florida holiday tradition seems destined stick around - Fourth of July fireworks. Many municipalities have cancelled official displays to prevent the spread of coronavirus, yet some communities are going full speed ahead. And who are we kidding - it's Miami! There's always that one neighbor...

For shelters across the country, the busiest day for intakes is July 5th. Estimates run as high as 30% to 80%, with fewer than 13% of dogs and 2% of cats being reunited with their heartbroken families. Simply put, fireworks are so terrifying to our pets that many will bolt from the safety of their homes in a blind panic. Our pets do not understand our fascination with fireworks, and their hearing is far more sensitive than ours. Simply put, fireworks are explosions! Is it any wonder our pets don't like them?

Before the fireworks begin, place cats in a separate room with lots of hiding places. Leave closet doors open, allow access to spaces under beds and behind furniture, and make it clear to guests that this room is strictly off-limits. Consider crating or boarding anxious dogs if you cannot confine them to a separate part of the house. Turn on the television or play music to help drown out the noise, and provide them with interesting activities to occupy their minds. For cats, try catnip or an interactive toy. Dogs are often content with a Kong toy that has been stuffed with canned food and placed in the freezer. These "popsicles" can keep them busy for hours. If your pet has a history of fireworks anxiety, consider asking your vet for some anti-anxiety medications. These can take several weeks to achieve the desired results, so the time to do this is now.

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