We are nearing the Fourth of July Holiday. A time of cookouts, patriotism, fireworks, and fun. But for many dogs this is a time of anxiety and fear.
FACT: More dogs are lost during the July Fourth Holiday than at any other time of the year.
Many dogs who are not used to the noises, sights and smells of fireworks will react with fear or anxiety. These uncommon triggers may be very overwhelming. Their instinct kicks in and they tend to run. Fight or flight, just like humans.
There are a few steps you can take to help your pet feel more relaxed and keep them safe during the upcoming holiday.
Ensure that your pet has a collar and ID tag on, so that, worst case scenario, if they do run, they have identification. Also, make sure their microchip information is up-to-date.
Keep your pets indoors during the fireworks show, Designate a quiet, safe spot for your pet. Maybe at the other side of the house as far away from the noise as possible. Another tip would be to keep them in their crate where they feel safe (inside and away from the noise). And make sure to draw the curtains so they can't see the flashes of light.
Turn on the TV and set the volume a little louder than normal to drown out the sounds outside. You can also use music, noise machines, or fans.
When taking your dog out for potty breaks, make sure that gates are secure.
Talk to your vet about medications that can calm your pet and help them feel a little more relaxed.
Your dog might choose to hide under the bed or behind furniture; if they come to you for comfort, make sure that you give it to them. Ignoring your dog would only make things worse as they wouldn’t understand your withdrawal from them. (Kennel Club)
Feed your dog tasty treats. Scientific American says "Before the fireworks start, cook up an irresistible food such as chicken breast, special meat or salmon cookies, microwave tiny bits of nitrate-free hot dogs, popcorn. Stock a treat bag. Feed one piece at a time to your dog throughout the fireworks to counter-condition and distract. If your dog is willing, make a game of it and ask her sit, down, 'find it', shake hands and other distracting cues. Freeze a Kong with kibble mixed with baby food. Feed dinner through the toy."
Going on a long walk or having an extended fetch session will help to tire out your dog and possibly less likely to be stressed out during the fireworks.
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!