July 4th is just around the corner, and along with this holiday, come the inevitable fireworks. Almost all humans with canines in the United States declare this day the worst day of the year for their dogs. Veterinarians say that July 3rd is usually the most trafficked day in their offices, with clients coming in looking for remedies for the inevitable panic that ensues once the festivities begin.
The American Humane Association reports that July 5 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters, reporting the day after Fourth of July they are inundated with pets that panicked at the noise of firecrackers and fled into the night, winding up lost, injured or killed.
Whether staying home with friends, family and fireworks, or going out to see the pyrotechnics display elsewhere, we implore you to take a moment to consider your pets. Unlike people, pets don’t associate the noise, flashes, and burning smell of pyrotechnics with celebrations. Pets are terrified of fireworks, and often panic at the loud noise they produce.
Here are some tips on how to keep your pet from panicking this Fourth of July weekend:
Leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades and other gatherings. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and increase the risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.
Keep your dog indoors. Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks. If they need to go outside, stay with them and make sure the environment is safe and secure. If your neighbors set off fireworks at an unexpected time, is your yard secure enough to keep your pet contained?
Have your pet properly identified with a tag, or better yet, have them microchipped. If your pet manages to break loose and become lost, without proper identification it will be that much harder to get them back. Consider fitting your pet with microchip identification, ID tags with their name and your phone number, or both. It is also a good idea to have a recent picture of your pets in case you need to put up signs.
If you’re hosting guests, ask them to help keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t escape. Placing notes on exit doors and gates can help both you and your guests remain vigilant.
Never leave your pet in your car when it’s warm outside. Vehicle interiors heat up much faster than the air around them, and even a short time in a locked car can be dangerous to pets.
Experiment with tactile therapy. The Thundershirt is a wrap for your dog that provides gentle, constant pressure. Their website reports that over 85% of Thundershirt users see significant improvement in noise anxiety symptoms. Most dogs respond with the very first usage; some need 2-3 usages before showing significant improvement.
Experiment with scent therapy. Canine Calm, an all-natural mist from Earth Heart™ Inc., can help dogs relax and cope more effectively with loud noises and other stressful situations. Directions on their website say to spray Canine Calm onto your hands and massage the dog’s outer ears or abdomen. Or lightly mist the air behind your dog’s head, inside the travel crate or car, or directly onto bedding or clothing.
Experiment with sound therapy. Play calming music. It is most effective when you first play the music well before the fireworks start, at a time when the dog is already feeling peaceful and relaxed. He will begin to associate the music with being calm and content.
Some pets may need medication. Consult your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist.
Please share! Keeping our furry friends safe is a team effort, so let’s make sure everyone is armed with the facts.
Happy July 4th to all the humans making the noise!