Tips to help your dog feel safe on 4th of July!
Many Americans celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks. While we are outside listening to the booms and bangs of fireworks, we don’t realize how it can be affecting our dogs at home, as well as the others in the neighborhood.
Here are some tips on making your best friend feel safe this 4th of July:
1. Stay home with your dog if your neighborhood will be shooting off fireworks. Look for signs (panting, whining, yawning, lip licking, etc.) that your pet is distressed.
2. Dogs should not be left unattended, loose or chained up, as dogs will either break or become entangled in their chains, or even scale fences in an attempt to flee from fireworks.
3. Put soft blankets in a crate or cardboard box for the pet to crawl into. Close the windows to dampen the outside noise. Turn on a radio or TV at normal volume to help block out the firework sound. Be sure the TV station you select will not be airing any fireworks displays.
4. Provide your dog with toys, treats, and chews to offer some positive distraction. Talk with your veterinarian to determine if sedation or anti-anxiety medication are needed if your dog is very uneasy, not eating and/or has diarrhea.
5. Dog Appeasing Pheromone is a synthetic pheromone that has a calming effect on dogs. Studies have shown that it reduced anxiety in thunderstorm-phobic dogs during a storm. It also may be helpful for dogs during fireworks. Plug it in 48 hours in advance in the room that will house your dog during the fireworks display. Have several relaxed and calm interactions with your dog in that room in advance of the fireworks to help create a positive experience in that room.
6. Never physically or verbally punish a dog for anxious, nervous, or fearful behavior. Punishment for this tends to make the overall anxiety and fear worse.
7. Avoid inadvertently rewarding nervous, anxious, or fearful behavior. Stroking, holding, cooing, and telling them it is “ok”, only helps to reinforce to the dog that there is something to worry about. Ignore anxious behavior. When your dog is settled down and relaxed, reward him for his calm behavior.
8. The 4th of July is a busy time of year for many animal control agencies. Be sure to have an ID tag on your pet’s collar.
9. Be proactive. Talk with your veterinarian about behavior modification or a referral to a veterinary behaviorist. Don’t put off behavioral counseling because the 4th of July happens only once a year.
These few simple steps will help your pet feel safe this summer holiday season.