We are the Land of the Free Because of the Brave
Today we celebrate the historic day we declared independence from Great Britain. While it is easy to get carried away by the excitement of all that is taking place, let’s remember the veterans and active military members who find it a little harder to cope with their symptoms of PTSD around Independence Day. Please keep these men and women in mind when setting off fireworks into the night sky as the piercing noise and bright flashes of light can be a trigger for unwelcome memories, intrusive images and flashbacks. It has been noted that not all veterans with PTSD and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries are affected by fireworks; however, for some it takes them right back to their defensive position in the middle of a mental battlefield. As we all look forward to the Fourth of July, let us not forget to remember those who fought and sacrificed so much of themselves for the freedoms we celebrate.
In addition to taking the time to think of our past and present military members this Fourth of July, please keep your pets in mind as well. The Fourth of July is a difficult time for a lot of pets as the roaring fireworks from near and far send some pets into a terrified frenzy. “Animal control officials across the country see a 30-60% increase in lost pets each year between July 4th and 6th. In fact, July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for shelters” (PetAmberAlert, 2016).
PetAmberAlert suggests these quick tips to ensure your pets stay safe and sound this Fourth of July:
1) Stay inside: Try to keep your pet indoors at all times during holiday
celebrations. Ideally, someone stays home with your pet. Also keep
your dog leashed when going out for walks.
2) Make them feel safe: Comfort your pets with petting, hugging, talking
to them in a soothing voice, providing a treat and staying nearby if
possible. Make sure they can access their crate or “safe place.” Also
ask your veterinarian or local pet retailer about natural calming
products, anxiety wraps and other products that can help.
3) Avoid the noise. Try to drown out the fireworks sounds as much as
possible by closing windows, playing music or turning on the TV.
4) Act normal! Your pet takes cues from your and your family’s actions. It will help if you go about your normal routine as much as possible, talking and playing with your pet as usual.
5) Protect your pet before the fireworks begin. There are a number of lost-pet devices and services available today, and it’s wise to be proactive in case your pet gets lost.
Be sure to check the American Veterinary Medical Association for more tips to make sure you and your pet have a happy and safe Fourth of July.