Dogs are sensitive to their environment and anything that seems out of the ordinary can startle them. Noises like a motorcycle revving or a big boom from an empty truck hitting a pothole can make them jump. It can also make us jump. Fireworks tend to make many animals nervous and dogs that are easily startled by noises can become unconsolable on the 4th of July. The holiday is already defying the typical routine you have established in the house, it’s a day off, people may come over, grilling in the yard, kids running with sparklers, and lots of bustling can make your dog wonder what’s going on. Like any holiday, there’s changes and dangers to animals that aren’t normally apparent. Citronella candles, tiki torches, hot bbq grills, and other items aren’t safe for your dog to be around. All the food and desserts that are out can have ingredients that can make your pet sick.
Then there are the fireworks. We may love them but our pets may not. If your pet is nervous and stressed, hearing fireworks can make them panic and they may run away to hide from the noise. More pets go missing on the 4th of July than other holidays.
Here’s a few tips to keep your pet safe and reduce anxiety:
- Leave Max home! Don’t take your pet out to watch the fireworks with you. The boom of the fireworks, crowd, and overstimulation can cause him to panic and he may slip his collar or harness and run away.
- Keep your pets inside except for bathroom breaks or some playtime in the backyard. Firecrackers can scare your indoor/outdoor cat and s/he may run and hide somewhere. Dogs may become frightened too and hop a fence to get away from the noises and get lost.
- Keep proper ID on your pet at all times. If your pet does bolt or get away, make sure he’s wearing his tags that have your information on them. If your pet is microchipped, double check that the information registered with the company is up to date.
- Before this upcoming weekend, you can try desensitization techniques like playing a cd of firework sounds. You can begin by playing it at a low level and slowly increasing it. While it is playing, distract your dog with a game or go about your usual routine. Your dog may begin to associate the noise as part of his environment like cars going by or a washing machine running.
- Anxiety wraps like the Thundershirt, Storm Defender, and other types of snug fitting shirts that you put on your dog can help reduce the panic he feels during fireworks and thunderstorms. These provide acupressure and after a few times of wearing it, your dog may start to be calmer during situations that usually make him very nervous.
- Anti-anxiety drugs that are prescribed by your vet may be needed or an herbal remedy such as Rescue Remedy can calm your dog down. Some may only make your dog drowsy which won’t reduce the feelings. Talk to your vet if you haven’t found a way to help your dog get used to the unknown sounds of fireworks or thunder.
- Do no use insect repellants on your pet that are not made specifically for them. OFF or EMS’s bug repellant is made for us, and who knows how good it is for us! Don’t use it on your dogs or cats. DEET can cause neurological defects in animals. Be careful with the bug spray.
- Keep the citronella candles away from your pet too, aside from the danger of your pet being burned or knocking it over and starting a small fire, the citronella in the candles can cause respiratory problems in pets. If your pet ingests any of the citronella your pet’s nervous system can be badly affected.
Image from Star-Telegram.com