Safely Celebrate the 4th of July With Your Dog!
The 4th of July marks a beautiful time of the year filled with barbeques, vacations, quality time with friends and family, and beautiful firework shows. Whether you are planning a trip out of town or simply a “staycation” – please take a moment to consider your dog’s needs during this time. To most dogs, this day (or week!) is filled with constant booming noises, bright lights crackling in the sky, and people yelling loudly after each roll of thunder. Here are some tips for keeping your dog safe and more relaxed this holiday season.
- Keep your pet inside! Animal Shelters around the country experience an overflow of dogs (and cats) on July 5th due to them running away from their homes out of sheer terror and panic. Ensuring they are safely secure inside will prevent this scenario from occurring, or worse yet, them running into a potentially dangerous situation. I suggest keeping them in a “safe room” or kennel filled with tasty treats, a soft bed and calming music in the background to help drown out the noises from outside. Looking into products such as the Thunder Jacket may also be a great option to help relieve the anxiety triggered from the fireworks through consistent pressure around the dog’s body.
- Doggy proof your “safe room”. To relieve stress, dogs experience coping mechanisms to alleviate the anxiety. One way is through excessive chewing. Be sure to provide safe chew toys (such as Kong or Nylon bone products) that are hardy and impossible to swallow. Filling them with tasty food can encourage them to channel their energy on the toy as opposed to obsessing over the activity going on outside. Scan the room or kennel before leaving your dog along to ensure they cannot get into anything that could potentially harm them.
- Keep proper identification on your pet. In the chance that your dog is able to escape and run away, it is important to ALWAYS have proper identification on them. Attaching a tag to their collar with your contact information is a great first step, however, it is possible that your dog could slip or rip out of the collar. To have a safe backup form of ID, be sure to also fit your dog with microchip identification. Having an up to date photo of your pet is invaluable in the case that you need to make signs to hang up around your community. Being proactive can be the difference between Fido making it back home or not.
- Make it a game! If you have the opportunity to be home with your dog this holiday, take advantage of the scenario and make it into a fun game. Every time a loud boom comes from outside, reward your pet with a special treat and get excited to maintain their attention. Stimulating their mind and encouraging them to work for the treats through basic obedience is a great way to redirect their energy. The goal, with time, is to help them associate the fireworks with tasty snacks to mold a new, more relaxed, behavior each time the noise occurs.
Help make this firework season safe and fun for both humans and dogs alike. Happy training and 4th of July!