How to Protect Pets From Fireworks Stress This Summer

iStock
iStock

New pet owners quickly become familiar with how animals react to auditory changes to their environment. Fire trucks can provoke howling and wailing, and the sound of food cans being opened can make them frantic. And a handful of times a year, pets being disturbed by noise can become a little more concerning.

Fireworks displays during the 4th of July and other holidays can be highly stressful for animals due to their frequent, powerful stretches of explosive sound. Owing to the proximity of the blasts, 5000 birds fell out of the sky following a fireworks display in Beebe, Arkansas in 2011. Deer and other wild animals can panic and run into roads, causing accidents. That’s because fireworks can reach up to 170 decibels, far past the 120 decibel pain threshold for sound. In some cases, very loud noises can even prompt seizures in dogs and cats.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help mitigate your pet's reaction to neighborhood celebrations. Pets best cope with the stimulus by being kept in an interior room without windows and having a radio or television turned on to help distract them from the noise outside. Owners should also remain with pets so they don’t experience increased anxiety from being left alone.

If your pet has any point of exit and becomes agitated by the fireworks, there’s a strong possibility for escape: Animal shelters routinely report an increase in the number of admissions on July 5 due to runaways. If this is a possibility, it’s a good idea to make sure your pet’s identification tags are updated with your current contact information.

For dogs, be mindful that too much time in one room could cause some rebound anxiety. If they’ve been stuck in one place too long, getting a chance to survey the house or mingle with any house guests can ease their nerves. Exercise earlier in the day may also help keep them calm when the fireworks begin later that evening.

You’ll need some vigilance the next morning, too. Pets may chew on fireworks debris, which can be toxic. Be sure to clean up any residue before allowing them to roam on your property.

[h/t WLNS]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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More Than 38,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Has Been Recalled

Beef-ware.
Beef-ware.
Angele J, Pexels

Your lettuce-based summer salads are safe for the moment, but there are other products you should be careful about using these days: Certain brands of hand sanitizer, for example, have been recalled for containing methanol. And as Real Simple reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recently recalled 38,406 pounds of ground beef.

When JBS Food Canada ULC shipped the beef over the border from its plant in Alberta, Canada, it somehow skirted the import reinspection process, so FSIS never verified that it met U.S. food safety standards. In other words, we don’t know if there’s anything wrong with it—and no reports of illness have been tied to it so far—but eating unapproved beef is simply not worth the risk.

The beef entered the country on July 13 as raw, frozen, boneless head meat products, and Balter Meat Company processed it into 80-pound boxes of ground beef. It was sent to holding locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina before heading to retailers that may not be specific to those four states. According to a press release, FSIS will post the list of retailers on its website after it confirms them.

In the meantime, it’s up to consumers to toss any ground beef with labels that match those here [PDF]. Keep an eye out for lot codes 2020A and 2030A, establishment number 11126, and use-or-freeze-by dates August 9 and August 10.

[h/t Real Simple]