How to Keep Your Dog Safe During 4th of July
It’s pretty common for canines to have some anxiety when they hear the sound of thunder, a car crash, a gunshot, and more often than not, fireworks. The terrifying sound triggers a fight or flight response that results in panic, leaving a frightened and vulnerable dog to make the only choice they have…run away.
In 2019, Chicago Animal Care and Control collected hundreds of animals that had escaped from their homes. Some pets were able to be returned to their owner, but others aren’t so lucky. Of the countless Craigslist and Lost Pet ads that will inevitably surface the day after the Fourth of July, many will see a tragic ending.
Home Alone? Secure the Exits.
Most of us allow our dogs to roam freely indoors, they are family after all. Under normal circumstances, this would make perfect sense, but the last thing you want is for your dog to hear a “boom” and bolt for the nearest exit.
Keep them safe by setting up a room that doesn’t have windows or accessible doors. There are two reasons for this:
- Since fireworks have the same “rolling” effect that thunder has, they tend to rattle windows. If you’ve experienced this before, that impact of that “explosion” also vibrates in your chest. To a dog, it feels like “danger” is right outside their door trying to find its way in. A firm, solid, windowless wall will muffle some of that sound. Being unable to see the flash of a firework might also help your pup relax a bit.
- Outdoor access points can get your pet killed. Broken shards of glass can be fatal if your pet breaks a window while attempting to escape. Even if they safely make it through a dog door, a metal garage, or a glass window, there’s still a chance they’ll be hit by a car or impaled on a gate.
Worse than any of these things, you don’t want your pup to end up in the wrong hands. We’ve all seen the news stories of sick bastards tying animals to firecrackers and lighting them up, I don’t think I need to share the details.
It Takes a Village
When popping firecrackers, it’s not uncommon for us to see house fires and damaged power lines when people aren’t using safe practices. If something happens to your home and your dog is stuck inside, you’ll want someone nearby to help.
Choose at least 1 or 2 people you can trust who are able to get into your home quickly if an emergency occurs. Confirm with them before you leave that they’ll be in the general vicinity, hire someone if you need to.
And hey, maybe nothing happens.
Maybe the night goes just the way you planned it.
But your dog’s life is priceless, and if there is an emergency you’ll be glad you took the precaution. If you haven’t already, get to know the people who live next door or a few houses down, exchange phone numbers. It always helps to have a few friends on the block!
Comfort Your Dog with Little Luxuries
- Blankets and bedding provide a soft area for them to lie down and sleep while they wait for you to arrive back home.
- Give them something that has your scent, so it still feels like you’re there with them. A sock, t-shirt, or towel will do just fine.
- Provide your dog with all their favorite toys, and give them a snack before you go. Upon leaving, behave as if it’s for a normal everyday trip to the grocery store. Avoid getting your pet excited or worked up. If possible, take them for a long walk or run before leaving to release some tension.
Get Your Dog a CHIP and Tags
Even without the possibility of your dog getting lost on the Fourth of July, they should always wear a collar with tags. It’s okay, I’m guilty of not always making sure this happens. However, when dogs get lost the first thing their rescuer will look for is a name tag with an address and contact information for the owner. So get one made if you haven’t already, they’re fairly inexpensive.
If your dog doesn’t have a CHIP yet, it is definitely recommended. When your pet gets out, someone just might pick them up and take them to a vet to be scanned. With a CHIP, your pet can be identified even if their collar and tags fall off.
Set Up a Camera
This may not be a feasible option for everyone, but setting up a pet cam can drastically reduce your own worry. Generally, you can purchase a small one that links up to an app on your phone. Wherever your dog is, you‘ll be able to see what they’re up to and how they’re faring through all the commotion.
Some cameras have microphone features as well so that you can speak to your pup and allow them to hear the sound of your voice.
Soft Noise is a Great Distraction
When you’re relaxing at home, what do you usually find yourself doing? If your dog likes to sit on the couch and fall asleep to the television with you on your off days, leave it on a low to medium volume for them. Or, create a soothing playlist of soft music or sleep sounds like white noise and river streams.
Either way, it’ll help them relax long enough to make it through the evening. Try to avoid eccentric sounds or talk shows where the host is overly excited. A loud conversation coupled with the burst of fireworks can be seriously overwhelming for your pup.
Benadryl and Mood Stabilizers
Now, this is something you absolutely check with your vet first before you try, but oral mood stabilizers are sometimes necessary for especially anxious dogs. Benadryl is meant for allergies, but they can also make your pup a bit drowsy. During the Fourth of July, it’s probably better for them to sleep or nap periodically through the evening than to continuously experience heightened stress levels.
“The standard dosage for oral Benadryl is 1 mg per pound of body weight.”
Enjoy Your Fourth of July
This shouldn’t stop you from leaving your home and enjoying your holiday. It’s always better if you can bring your dog with you, but if you can’t they should be just fine. Just follow these steps and your canine pal fair well through the evening.
You should keep your local veterinarian or Emergency Vet Clinic phone number in your wallet or saved to your phone. This way if something does happen, you know exactly who to call.
If you want to hire a pet sitter but you’re not sure where to look, try apps like Rover and Wag. Dog walkers and sitters will have profile ratings, photos, and biographies available so that you can read up on their experience and make the best choice.
Originally published at https://hubpages.com.