The Fourth of July is the highlight of summer for many of us. Your dog, however, may not be so enthusiastic about the holiday. Keep reading for some handy pet safety tips!
For many pets, fireworks are terrifying and for good reason! They’re loud and unpredictable. While us humans are having a great time celebrating, our pets only hear explosions and feel scary vibrations. It makes perfect sense that their fight or flight instinct would kick in. Thankfully, there are ways to comfort your dog on the loudest day of the year while keeping them safe.
Fido’s First 4th
Is this your first Fourth of July with a new four-legged family member? Even if you have a confident, social, happy dog, they may be sensitive to fireworks, so it’s best to spend your first holiday together so you can gauge your pup’s response. Being in a familiar, comfortable (and secure!) place will help calm them down if they become scared of the noises. If you notice that your dog isn’t bothered by fireworks, you may be able to celebrate at places other than your home next year.
Stay Home, Stay Safe
If you know your dog is afraid of fireworks, the biggest danger you face is Fido running away from home. 30% of all lost pets go missing on July 4th. If your pup gets spooked, their first instinct is to flee. Thousands of dogs run away every year, so make sure your home is secure; double check your fence line for holes/gaps and close all gates securely. Ensure your dog is wearing an ID tag and is microchipped (with current info!). If your dog does escape, don’t panic! Start searching for your pup in your neighborhoo and alert your neighbors (social media can be very helpful). Animal shelters are on high alert around the week of the 4th, so be prepared to call local shelters in case your pet has been picked up by a Good Samaritan.
“I’m Freaking Out, Man!”
If your dog shows intense fear around fireworks, don’t leave them unsupervised. Ever. They’re depending on you to keep them safe and will feel so much more comforted by your presence. Give your dog lots of pets, treats and reassurance. You can distract your dog with games, puzzle toys or their favorite bone. One of our favorite options is the Thundershirt; it’s the dog equivalent of swaddling a baby. It has an 80% success rate and the lightweight vest applies mild pressure to help ease anxiety. CBD treats, pheromones, and melatonin can also be helpful anxiety supplements, but try them beforehand to determine which works best. If your pet enjoys his crate, that enclosed space may make him feel especially safe. You can even leave your own blanket or shirt in the crate for added comfort. Turn on the television or play music before the fireworks start to help drown out the noise before they really get going. If all else fails or if you just know nothing else will help, contact your vet who can prescribe a sedating medication to help make the Fourth of July more manageable. Woof!