How to keep your dog safe and happy this 4th of July
As many people in the UK celebrate America’s Independence Day on 4th July, as responsible dog owners we need to give a thought to how our much loved pets will enjoy these festivities – or not!
A barbecue get together can be enjoyable; think of all those sausages and burgers your canine friend can enjoy – but this celebration day can be a nightmare if your dog is afraid of fireworks. While humans can anticipate the loud bangs from a firework going off, a dog’s heightened senses can make these firework explosions appear much more intense, especially as they don’t realise what is happening.
Make preparations in advance
If you intend to leave your dog at home while you go out to party, make sure your dog has a secure room to stay in, perhaps your bedroom, or in a dog cage. Provide a radio, TV or even a cool air fan, to provide white noise that may help to calm your dog. If you have anti-anxiety medication that has been prescribed for your dog by a Vet, administer this to them.
If your dog suffers from anxiety with fireworks, it’s not too early to being planning for November 5th celebrations. You need to begin desensitisation training well in advance of the event, so that your dog will react in a calm manner. While your dog is busy playing games with his favourite toy, have a CD playing in the background with firework sounds, or find some suitable audio files on YouTube. Begin at a low level volume and gradually increase the sound level at each training period until he shows no fear or anxiety. Likewise, if he shows he is afraid, turn off the player immediately. It’s probably too late to begin desensitisation for this year’s Independence Day, but here are some other hints to keep your dog calm during any fireworks.
Remain at home
If it’s possible, especially if you’re not sure how your dog will react, or if you have a new puppy, spend time at home with your pet. He will be calmer and less fearful if you’re there with him during the peak of the firework display.
Tire your dog out
Your pet will be less likely to panic if he has less energy. Take him for a longer walk before dark, when the fireworks usually begin. Keep him on the lead, particularly in areas where fireworks are likely to be left off. Keep an eye open for any pranksters that think it’s a huge joke to frighten a dog with a thrown firework.
Bring him into the house
There is a huge risk if you normally keep your dog in the garden, or allow him outside alone, that he may jump over the fence to escape into the road if startled. Keeping him inside will calm him, put him more at ease and will hopefully put an end to his barking. Ensure that he is microchipped and is wearing a collar with an ID tag, in case he does go missing.
Close all curtains, windows and doors.
To prevent your dog from seeing firework glare and zooming rockets, and to muffle loud and scary noises, keep the windows and curtains closed.
Provide a “safe” spot and a treat
If your pet has a safe place, such as a pet bed where he feels protected and comfortable, try to keep him here during the firework noises. A blanket that has your “smell”, placed onto him should also keep him calmer. A favourite toy or a treat can help to relax your dog, as can special cuddles or a dog massage.
Don’t attempt to extract him from a hiding place
If he’s nervous and hides under the bed or a table, don’t try to pull him out. This could well cause more anxiety and higher stress levels, and produce an even greater negative connection with fireworks.
Your dog will naturally react to your actions, so remain calm yourself around fireworks. Dogs do not understand that the deafening explosions and bursts of lights on are just for fun. It’s up to us to keep our doggy companions comfortable and safe. Follow our suggestions to make your pet feel calm and secure this 4th of July, and share these tips with your family and friends too.