As beautiful as they are, not everyone enjoys the fireworks. Lots of dogs get nervous around strange loud noises, and it’s not the only danger to dogs over the Fourth of July. It's a little-known fact that July 5th is the busiest day at shelters. Here are 7 Fourth of July dog safety tips to keep your dog safe, healthy and at home over the holiday:
1) Bring your dog inside after dark
Even if your dog is ok with fireworks, you never know if a neighbor might set off some special effects closer to home that will affect your dog differently. Tying up a dog outside isn’t effective – he can injure herself on the chain or slip out of his collar and run if he gets scared enough. The collar is crucial - here's why-
2) Make sure your dog has his tags on
That way, should he run off despite your best efforts, there’s a way for a kind stranger to help Buddy find his way home. Microchipping is a good backup too; even if his collar slips off, your big dog will never be without identification. Better yet…
3) Use a thunder jacket
This shirt has been proven to reduce anxiety in dogs from loud noises and more. It provides gentle pressure that calms nerves, the same way that a swaddling cloth soothes fussy babies. Click here to get a thunder jacket for dogs for your dog.
4) Don’t leave your dog alone at home
Hire a pet-sitter or take your dog to a kennel if you won’t be home. You’ll reduce your chances of coming home to find your dog missing. If you can't find a place to take him or someone to watch him, leave lights and the TV on. It will help your dog feel like it's a normal evening and the TV will help muffle some of the noise of fireworks.
5) Talk to your vet about sedatives
If your dog is very nervous, especially around loud noises, a sedative can help relieve the stress of fireworks. Many vets will give you a prescription and instructions on giving your dog a sedative at home. Herbal, over-the-counter options like Rescue Remedy have also been shown to relieve stress and fear in dogs.
6) Act like everything is normal
Another tip to calm nervous dogs: don’t act like something is wrong. This signals to them that something is wrong. Use your normal voice; it will reassure your dog that everything is ok more than a higher, cooing voice will.
7) Provide your dog a safe place
This might be his bed, a kennel or a laundry room that can serve as a comforting den. Leave water down for your dog and 1 or 2 of your unwashed shirts. The smell of you on the clothes will be reassuring. A couple chew toys might be a good idea too - give Buddy an appropriate way to work off some of that stress. Freeze some peanut butter in a Kong and Buddy will have something far more important to do than worry about fireworks.
8) Avoid giving your big dog human food and drink
It can be tempting to include your dog in the festivities, but spare your dog the human food. Too many of them are poisonous to dogs (here's a list of poisonous foods dogs beg for). Especially alcohol – no drinks for Buddy! Stick to dog-friendly treats, like these refreshing fruit recipes you and your dog will enjoy.
By following these Fourth of July dog safety tips, you won't be spending July 5th putting up lost dog posters.
Have you used these tips? Have others that you’ve found useful? Please share your tips with the PawPosse community. Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!
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Photo credit: bayasaa