When if comes to the 4th of July and fireworks almost all dogs have a reaction to the noise. Dogs in general are sensitive to loud noises. Some dogs have a stronger reaction than others. I have friends who tell me how their dog hides in a spot in the house that feels safe to him during thunderstorms and of course when fireworks are going off. That spot can be under a bed, or in a bathroom. Really anywhere the dog feels a sense of escape from the noise. Loud noises can frighten or disorient dogs. If a dog is outside and hears a loud noise like fireworks, he may become disoriented and try to run away from the noise. This is why we see so many dogs missing on this day every year. The American Humane Association (AHA) states:
"July 5 is the busiest day of the year at animal shelters, as companion animals that fled in fright the night before are found miles from their homes, disoriented and exhausted.
Anxious families often find themselves searching the streets and shelters looking for a treasured family member whose fear drove him to jump a high fence or break his leash or chain.
If your pet is upset by thunder, a door slamming or other loud noises, Fourth of July fireworks will be utterly terrifying."
Loud noises whether fireworks, thunderstorms, a car backfiring, sirens, etc. are all difficult sounds for our dogs and can cause a dog to feel spooked or disoriented.
Here are some tips to keep your dog safe year round and especially on the 4th of July:
1) Make sure your dog gets a long walk and the opportunity to exercise (potty) before people gather and all the festivities begin.
2) Make sure your dog is micro chipped and has a ID tag on his collar with all the important information for someone to contact you. If you are putting a micro chip in for the first time, make sure you register it.
3) Keep toxic foods out of your dogs reach. This would be chocolate or alcohol and any other food you may serve that is toxic to dogs.
4) Keep citronella and insect repellent away from your dog. Don't use human insect repellents on dogs. Only use products made specifically for dogs.
5) Don't let your dog play with "glow" jewelry for children. The liquid can be toxic for dogs.
6) Watch your dog around the hot grill so he doesn't get burned trying to sniff out the good smells.
7) Consider leaving your dog at home when you go to the fireworks event. Dogs don't enjoy the noise and are not awed by the explosions like we are. Shut all the doors and windows and draw the shades. Turn on some music and leave your dog with a kong full of treats to occupy him.
8) Thunder shirts work for some dogs by giving them a swaddled feeling. These can be purchased in local pet stores or online.
9) Essential oils can also be calming for dogs. Consult with a holistic vet who is knowledgable about essential oils.
10) If your dog is anxious normally, consider staying home with him and play some games in a quiet atmosphere. Keep him assured and distracted from the fireworks. Have the TV or music playing. Keep the doors and windows closed to keep out as much noise as possible.
11) If your dog is extremely anxious consult with your vet for some options to calm him.
Your dog will thank you for your consideration of his needs. Being a pet parent means doing what we can to make sure our canine family member is safe and taken care of always.
WOOFS & SMILES!