The 4th of July is always a time for great celebration – when family and friends get together to commemorate an all American holiday (Independence Day), and feast, and amazing fireworks.
The noise can be a bit stressful, for humans and their pets, but fireworks are particularly distressing for animals. For this reason, Independence Day can be a dangerous time for dogs – exploding fireworks and large and strange crowds can actually drive them into a frenzy.
Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, a veterinarian at Animal Medical Center in New York City, shared, “Every year dogs jump through windows, break through screens, dig out of their houses and put holes in walls because they’re so frightened.”
Dogs can become so upset by all of the 4th of July uproar that they tend to go missing at this time of the year. The extreme noise and loud bangs may be signs of celebration for humans, but for dogs they connote danger and are cause for alarm.
Pet owners should ensure that their beloved pets are safe as they prepare for their 4th of July celebrations. Here are some tried and tested tips that can guarantee that dogs stay calm despite the joyous festivities.
1. Watch out for signs of anxiety
It shouldn’t be too hard to see if your dog may be acting differently. Fear and anxiety may manifest in shivering, shaking, panting, salivating, and yawning. When dogs are scared they may repeatedly lick their lips or get stiff.
2. Keep your dogs at home
Even if the dogs are comfortable with loud noises, 4th of July events may be unpredictable even for the most serene animals.
They may panic at all the chaos. Keep them indoors since the noise is generally louder outside. Make sure that they don’t bolt outdoors when they get startled by the merrymaking.
3. Give the pets some extra exercise
Dr. Hohenhaus advised that a little extra exercise may be good for the dogs on the morning of the 4th of July. “This is so she’s tired and will want to hit the sack early,” she said. This will make the dogs sleep and less likely to be affected by the evening’s events.
4. Prepare a safe and familiar sleeping space
Try to filter out the excess noise by closing the windows. It is also best to close the curtains to keep out the flashes of light, which may startle the dogs.
Providing some background sound, such as turning on the TV, may help dull the booms and bangs of fireworks. Music may also help soothe your pets.
Some of them may want to hide so it may be good to create a cubby hole where the dogs can feel safe.
A covered kennel in a room far away from all the commotion may be helpful for the beloved family pets. Pack the den with their favorite toys to make them feel better.
5. Try to desensitize your pet
Way before the 4th of July, try exposing your dogs to recordings of the sounds of fireworks. If the pet understands that the noise won’t hurt them, then they won’t be so surprised by the undue sounds they may hear on Independence Day.
In time, they may associate the sounds with good things and not be scared off by the noise. Dr. Hohenhaus advised to let the dog adjust by increasing the volume gradually.
She added, “If you need help with this endeavor, you should consider a consultation with a veterinary behavior specialist. This project requires time, and you have plenty of time to start now for next year.”
6. Get your pets microchipped
We can try our best to provide a stress-free environment for our pets but they may still react differently on the big day.
Always be prepared for the worst case scenario. Ensure that the dog’s tags are up to date and they are microchipped with the necessary contact information.
7. Bring your dogs to the vet
Your pet may constantly exhibit anxiety around the 4th of July. If so, it might be best to bring the pets in for a check-up, and seek prescriptions to help ease their apprehension.
8. Bring the dogs to a boarding facility
If there are plans to be out for the night, your dogs might be better off at a doggie daycare or boarding facility. This allows the family to enjoy the revelry without having to worry about the pets.
The dogs, on the other hand, have the chance to spend time with doggie friends and staff to care for them. They will be in a secure environment that is free from noise.
Make sure though not to make this the first time to board your dogs since this might cause even more stress on the pet.
Keeping your dogs calm on the 4th of July can be a challenge, but certainly not impossible. Show your pets the love they deserve by making sure that they feel safe.
There are many ways to celebrate the holiday with the pets, so make sure to keep them happy on Independence Day!
Here’s more information for you how to keep your dogs calm during a fireworks display:
(Note: This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only and not to be treated as a professional opinion, recommendation or diagnosis.)