Keeping Your Dog Safe on The 4th of July
Every year on the 4th of July animal shelters around the country see a huge upsurge of lost pets. There are more lost dogs on the 4th of July than any other time of the year.
Dogs have very sensitive hearing and it has been estimated to be 10 times greater than our hearing. Loud explosions, bright flashing lights, screeching Roman candles, sirens, and sparklers can easily frighten a dog and lead to his wanting to flee or escape.
Fear of loud noises in dogs can develop after one frightening event or can develop slowly over time and then appear without warning. Dogs that are afraid of loud noises and develop phobias have never learned to tolerate the fear of the provoking stimuli and it usually gets worse over time with each subsequent event.
So even if your dog has never shown any fear of fireworks you should still take precautions on this 4th of July.
- Do not take your dog to a 4th of July event. Leave your dog at home in a crate or sheltered room. I highly recommend a crate. Dogs have been known to break through windows and doors when they are frightened.
- Put your dog's crate in a quite room with shades drawn. You can leave the radio or TV on low to drown out potential fireworks sounds from the outside.
- Never leave your dog unattended in the backyard. I have heard of cases where the dog has scaled 8 foot and higher fences with ease.
- Make sure your dog has a collar and identification tag. You should also have your dog microchiped.
- Exercise your dog before the fireworks start.
- Make sure your dog has done it's business before putting him up for the evening. If you are staying with your dog and she starts showing signs of anxiety such as pacing, whining, drooling and hiding you can try the following:
- Play a game of fetch or tug with your dog.
- Massage and rub your dog.
- Try an anxiety wrap. (Google "anxiety wrap for dogs" and you will find a variety of ideas).
- If you know your dog will be highly anxious before the 4th talk to your vet about appropriate anti-anxiety drugs that might help.
If your dog has a difficult time with fireworks on the 4th of July you may want to consider working your dog through it so you will be better prepared for the next time it happens. There are many articles on the Internet on how to desensitize your dog to noise, thunder, and fireworks. Use the search phrase "noise desensitization therapy for dogs" and you will get a lot of useful information.
If you are having problems training your dog The Dog Squad has a Home Boundaries Program and No Boundaries Program that can help you. We are based in the East Bay, specifically Oakland, CA and work in both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
Call 877-632-3647 to set up an evaluation.