7 Tips to Keep your Dog Safe
on Fourth of July
You’ve probably already heard the signature pops, shrill whistles and booms in your neighborhood that signal the onset of Fourth of July celebrations. However, your dog may not be in the same celebratory mood as you. Perhaps, you’ve seen your dog seek out a quiet place to hide until the noise and reverberation are over. Considering that dogs have four times the hearing that we as humans have, it is no wonder that they seek out a place to hide. Here are seven tips to help calm your anxious dog.
1. Leave Your Dog Home!
He does not need to attend the festivities with you. Frightened animals tend to bolt and run. With fireworks going off throughout your city, he will run for a long time and can be miles away from your immediate locale. Animal shelters report their largest influx of lost dogs on July 5th. Don’t let your dog become a statistic! Keep him safe at home!
2. Respect His Needs
Respect his need for a quiet, safe place. Don’t insist that he hang out at the Fourth of July party with you. Have a place prepared that he can safely stay if you are going to be gone for a period of time while the festivities are taking place.
3. I. D. Tags
Make sure your dog is wearing a collar and ID / license tags. Be sure the collar fits correctly and does not slip off.
4. Keep Calm
Remember, your dog feeds off of your energy. If you are anxious, he will feed off of your anxiety.
5. Create a “Safe Place”
Create a “safe space” for him to be during the festivities and/or in the days preceding the Fourth’s celebrations
Your bed room closet that has some space cleared out can be a “safe space” for your dog to hide out. Underneath your bed is another option.
His crate (if he is used to using one) or his favorite chair or corner on the couch can provide a soothing place to be if they are located in a quiet room. Close the door and the drapes in the room. Drape a sheet over the crate to create a darker, quiet environment. This will help emulate a den-like environment which most dogs associate with safety. The less visual stimulation, the better.
A laundry room or bathroom that has tile floors can also provide a quiet, safe and cool haven for your dog to stay. Be sure to provide cool water for your dog at all times.
You can check on your dog from time to time, but don’t insist that he come out from his “safe space” and join you. Just let him stay in his quiet retreat. He’ll come out when he’s ready.
6. Provide Safe Distractions
Provide him with a Kong filled with his favorite treats (peanut butter works great) to help occupy his mind and time. Or, leave him with some of his favorite toys.
Leave a TV or Radio playing softly in the room to help muffle the fireworks. Classical music works well.
Or, YOU can be the distraction! Bring a good book and sit with him awhile while the celebrations are going on. Your presence can be a great comfort to him.
7. Tools to Consider
Thundershirt — Consider a Thundershirt. Check out www.Thundershirt.com to see about getting one for your dog. Note: Get your dog used to wearing the Thundershirt, before the Fourth of July. Note: The Thundershirt is not meant to be worn continuously and can create additional warmth for your dog. If you live in a climate where the temperature gets warm/hot in summer, be aware of this and use it in climate-controlled areas (in an air-conditioned environment, in a cool basement).
Sedation — If your dog is super anxious, you can check with your veterinarian ahead of time to explore giving him a sedative to relax. If you opt to use an herbal remedy, always check with your vet. Natural does not always equal safe. This is especially important if your dog is already on a prescribed medication for another issue; drugs can interact in a bad way and cause serious consequences to your dog. Do not give your dogs alcohol to get them to relax!
Hopefully, the tips noted above, will help you and your best friend to both have a Happy Fourth of July!