You’ve probably heard this numerous times already, but it can’t hurt to say it once more – more pets end up in shelters during and after the 4th of July than any another other time of year due to fireworks.
Dogs are the most likely pets to end up in shelters because when scared, they tend to bolt and keep running for long distances until they get far away from whatever scared them.
And if the fireworks keep going off, the dog will keep running.
Some people think their dog will be OK if they leave it in a fenced yard, but you’d be surprised to see just how high a panicked dog can jump a fence. Or dig under it.
Even if you stay home and cookout in the backyard, your presence won’t prevent your dog from bolting once the fireworks start.
But keeping your dog safe and calm during the 4th of July celebrations isn’t beyond your control. Here are some tips that will help:
1. Exercise your dog before the fireworks start! Make time in your schedule to give your an extra long workout before the fireworks begin. Dogs that have been thoroughly exercised are calmer and easier to keep quiet. They will also sleep more deeply, and consequently, will be less likely to be disturbed by the noise outside.
Of course, if it’s really hot outside, take precautions to ensure your dog doesn’t get overheated.
2. Stay home with your dog. Their fear of fireworks can be exacerbated if you aren’t there to provide reassurance that they are safe.
3. Keep Calm. Your dog reacts to your nonverbal cues. If you jump or tense up when you hear fireworks because you are you are anticipating your dog’s fear, you may make its fear worse.
4. Drowned out the sound. Turn up the stereo or television and keep your windows closed during the fireworks. Something that can provide background noise, like a fan or air conditioner can help as well.
5. Respect your dog’s fear. Allow your dog to hide if it feels more comfortable in its crate or under a bed. Don’t pull it out or try to force it closer to the fireworks in an attempt to get him used to the sounds. Just be with it and provide reassurance that it’s safe.
6. Provide a distraction. Break out your dog’s favorite treat, play a game, or give it some extra cuddle time.
7. Try the Thundershirt. I’ve never tried a Thundershirt on my dogs, but some people swear by them. The pressure it provides has a calming effect on the nervous system.
8. Just say YES to drugs. If know that your dog will panic when the fireworks start, ask your vet if he/she can prescribe medication to keep it calm. You can also try Rescue Remedy or Happy Traveler, which are natural stress relievers for pets. Seattle-based Epic Pet Health makes Calm, which also reduces stress/anxiety.
Some people recommend giving a dog half a Benadryl to keep it calm but I wouldn’t try that unless you check with your vet first.
9. Be Prepared. Make sure your dog is wearing ID tags with its name, your name, and your phone number. Get you dog microchipped if it doesn’t have one. Buy your dog a license – if it runs off and is picked up by animal control, they will call to let you know they have your dog. And you won’t have to pay a big fine to get your dog back. You can also get a digital ID tag like this one from PetHub.
10. Desensitize your dog to loud noises. Gradually desensitize your dog to the sound of fireworks and loud noises by playing recorded sounds of fireworks. You can find several recordings on YouTube. Start out playing the noise softly and gradually increase it as your dog becomes comfortable with the sounds.
The most important thing is to paying close attention and care for our pets during this stressful time. If you plan on going out, the professionals at Pet Sit Pros of South Orange County would be happy to pet sit your dog or cat. Have a safe and happy 4th of July.
Article Credit – http://www.seattledogspot.com