The Fourth of July is a fun night for humans but a very scary time for pets; during this night so many dogs are frightened and become lost. To help you keep your pets safe over this holiday, we’ve got a special guest post today from animal behavior expert Diane Pomerance PhD, author of Our Rescue Dog Family Album and contributor of the “Ask Dr. Diane” column here on DogTipper.
I love July 4th – and everything it represents – freedom and independence as well as summer fun, joy and carefree sunny days. However, as a pet parent, I dread this holiday more than any other. My dogs are terrified of thunder and lightning and – especially- fireworks -which seem to occur in our neighborhood every year in greater numbers and with increasing frequency and intensity- not only on the Fourth of July but also during the days preceding and following the holiday.
The gunshots fired in the air, the sound of the fireworks going off – scare my dogs so much that they shake, shiver and become disoriented or destructive. They simply do not know how to respond to the cacophony of scary, inexplicable loud noises and displays of light. Their instinct is to either seek protection at home or to run away. Animal shelters across the country are accustomed to receiving “July 4th” dogs – who, in the frenzy and commotion of the holiday have run away or escaped.
My husband and I have learned through the years to keep them safe, calm and indoors and soothingly accompanied by a non-violent, easy to listen to program on television or classical music on the radio. We never take our dogs to see firework displays as they become very nervous, anxious and fearful.
To keep your pet safe on the 4th of July:
- Do not take your pets to fireworks displays. The noise and commotion can be frightening and intimidating for them.
- Do not leave your pets in your backyard or outside during fireworks displays that are audible or visible from where you live. Do not ever leave them outside unattended if they are within hearing range of fireworks.
- Keep your pets safe, secure and comfortable in a room or place they really like and to which they are accustomed.
- Keep the TV or radio on for them.
- Make sure your pet is wearing proper identification tags so that if they do, by chance, get out, they are easily returned.
- If you know your pet has anxiety or is disturbed by loud noises like thunder, talk to your veterinarian in advance of the 4th of July to see if there are medications available to help your pet through survive the holiday calmly and safely.
- Never use fireworks around pets. Do not leave matches or candles around them either. Your pet could easily knock them over and start a fire.
- Never leave your pet unattended in a car during a fireworks ceremony as he can get extremely frightened, overheated, agitated and/or destructive and even find a way to escape from the vehicle.
- Don’t leave alcoholic beverages where your pets can get them or to them.
- Maintain your pet’s normal diet on the holiday weekend. Do not give him any rich foods, cookies or cakes or barbecued foods that have fat or bones (i.e. ribs or chicken) that could upset his stomach.
- Keep your pet out of the heat during the day as well as the nighttime.
- Keep your pet cool, safe, calm and comfortable.
Enjoy and celebrate the holiday! Don’t neglect or forget about your furry friend’s physical and emotional health and well being!
For More on Dr. Pomerance: