No matter what kind of image you have in your heard, your dog will NOT enjoy watching the fireworks with the family. Here are some tips to help keep him safe and anxiety-free for the 4th of July.
By Heather McAuliffe
Note from Laini: This is the debut post of a new series on LittlePocketGuide.com—a series about and for the furry friends in our lives, and their owners/parents. Thank you to Heather McAuliffe for writing this first article. I know it’s going to help Boomer (and me) a lot over the next few days. For as calm as Boomer is, and as ok he is with pretty much everything, there is one thing that scares him right into the smallest space he can find, and turns him into the kind of dog Heather describes here — fireworks. I wasn’t sure how to help him, so I asked Heather. I think her response is so valuable, it needed to be shared with all of you. Please pass it along to others you think can benefit from it. Have a safe 4th of July!
The 5th of July is the most active of all days for local animal control officers and animal shelters. It seems many people don’t realize that the sounds of fireworks not only frighten small children, but they also terrify dogs. Here are some quick tips to help your dogs deal with the sounds and how to keep them safely in your home and not have them end up in a shelter or worse get hurt or hit by a car by bolting in panic.
1. Leave your dog home! Even a dog that is deaf can get frightened by the colors in the sky and even the vibration of the loud BOOMS. No matter what kind of image you have in your head, your dog will NOT enjoy watching the fireworks with the family.
2. Even if it’s nice outside, shut your windows to muffle the sound. Leave on a radio or television and some other type of white noise (a fan, a noise machine, a window unit air conditioner) to help cover some of the sound.
3. If your dog is prone to panic, make sure she is in a secure room where she won’t get hurt. If she is crate trained, use the crate to help keep her safe. Consider covering it with a sheet so that she can curl up in her own little den to feel safe.
4. Take your dog out in the early evening, even at dusk, but before the fireworks start, to let him go potty and get some good exercise. Set an alarm on your phone so you don’t forget. This will help prevent you from having to take him out for a potty break while the fireworks are going on.
5. If you decide to ignore all of this advice and you do take your dog out during fireworks, make sure their collar is tight (about 1-2 fingers should fit between the collar and your dog’s neck) and double check that it is not so loose that the collar can slip up over the dog’s ears. Keep your dog on a leash and keep hold of it tightly. Even the most sedate and/or confident dogs have been known to panic during fireworks and do whatever they can to get away from them and therefore you! This might drive them into traffic or to get lost. You won’t have any hope of keeping up with a panicked dog on the run.
6. If you have people coming over for a picnic, especially those who do not have a dog, or one prone to bolting, help keep your dog safely in the fenced yard or in the house by posting notes at doors and gates to remind people to keep doors closed for the safety of all of your family members!
7. Lastly, if your dog gets lost, contact the police or animal control for your area immediately to file a lost dog report. Consider sources such as Find Toto or Lost My Doggie. These companies offer services to call your neighbors (different prices for different numbers of people called) to notify them that there is a missing dog and who to contact if they see your dog. Hang posters. Lots of them with contact info and a picture of your dog. Do not rely on someone else to post that they have found your dog. If you want to find your missing dog, you need to do the work.
Hopefully, these suggestions will help you and your favorite animals have a safe and happy 4th!
Heather McAuliffe grew up in Easton and is a pet mom and a volunteer for Mid-Atlantic English Springer Spaniel Rescue. She has fostered 200+ dogs.