How to Keep Your Dog Safe During 4th of July
Fourth of July Can Be A Fun Occasion.
In the same way that some dogs are terrified of thunder and other loud noises, fireworks can trigger the fight or flight response. Every year, frightened pets flee from their homes because of the explosion they fireworks exude.
As a result, the wind up injured or killed trying to get away. If you check craigslist posts the day after Fourth of July, you’ll probably see quite a few lost and found ads; some of these will consist of animals who were hit by cars or got caught in fences.
If No One Will Be Home, Make Sure Your Dog Is Secured.
Most dog owners allow their companion to roam the home freely, 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 for your pet. There are two reasons for this:
- Since fireworks roll just like thunder, they tend to rattle windows and create a sound that is both dramatic and frightening to your dog. A firm, solid wall will muffle some of that sound, and keep your pet from panicking at the sight of flashing lights.
- Broken shards of glass can be fatal if your dog breaks a window trying to get out. Preventing them from escaping will keep them from hurting themselves in the process, or from getting injured out in the open.
Ask a Neighbor or Trusted Friend to Keep an Eye Out
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. Sure, if nothing happens you lose out on $20 for the night. Your dog's life is priceless though, 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!
It's easy to hear tragic stories and think that it'll never happen to us, but it can and it does. Be prepared.
Is your dog afraid of fireworks?
Comfort Your Dog with Little Luxuries
Set up a soft, calming atmosphere with toys, blankets, food, and water.
- Blankets and bedding provide a soft area for them to lie down and hopefully fall asleep 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. When you exit your home, treat as a normal everyday trip to the grocery store. Leaving on a positive note keeps your dog happy and allows them to relax.
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. I myself am 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 camera that links up to an app on your phone. Wherever your dog is, you can see what they're up to and how they're faring through all the noise.
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."— PetMD
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.