4th of July. A day to celebrate our nation's independence. A day to spend with friends and family. Some of you go camping, plan barbecues, or spend the day at the beach, but no matter the day plans we have, most of us will plan to attend or participate in firework displays. And as entertaining and awesome as fireworks are to us humans, your pets think otherwise.
A concern that arises every year around this time is pet safety. Every pet professional will preach pet safety around 4 of July. It is an issue that every pet owner should be aware of, but many don't know how to manage their pets fears. This can result in pets running away, getting injured or worse. Animal shelt
ers across the nation are flooded with dogs and cats the day after 4th of July, that panic from fireworks. As a pet professional I find a lot of problems people face with 4th of July can be fix with simple training and animal management. Knowing your pets tendencies,and predicting their reactions by evaluating behaviors can make the day fun for everyone, including your furry friends.
Here are my tips to 4th of July safety.
Training your dog can accomplish two things. The obvious is a well behaved dog, but training also improves the relationship between the human and the dog. The stronger connection you have with your furry friend the more sense of “home” and the feel of being safe the dog will have. When you show a dog a st
rong confident leader they get the sense they are in a pack. And when a dog has a sense they are a member of a pack they in turn feel safe. This sense of pack safety can help when an unknown danger arises like fireworks. Instead of running off away from the pack or the confines of the house a dog could very well stand its ground knowing the safest place is with their pack.
Two of the most common training commands can save a dog's life are "come when called" and "leave it". A strong "come when called
" can be used when your dog gets loose or spooked from fireworks. "Leave it" is one o
f my favorite commands to teach because it can be used in many situations. "Leave it" can be used to teach dogs to avoid, forbidden foods, pills, other dogs, and feces. These commands should be practiced on a regular basis, and can come in handy during 4th of July.
A good dog is a tired dog. Even better is a sleeping dog. Whether you are BBQing at home or going out for the fireworks, giving your dog an extra hard workout before the festivities began will guarantee a smoother firework experience for all. Remember to get to know your dog's fitness level and never over exceed that level. if you are unsure of how much exercise you dog might need consult your Vet.
3. Puppy proofing:
Whether a puppy or an adult, puppy proofing is setting up a safe area for a dog so they cannot get into trouble or harms way. This becomes very important during fireworks. I have heard many horror stories of dogs breaking through glass windows and hopping over fences in attempt to flee the fireworks. Protect your dog by making sure he or she are in a secure area. If they are tied up make sure they are wearing a harness and not a slip or pinch collar. If your dog is primarily an outdoor pet please consider bringing them inside for the duration of the night until the fireworks have ended. Turn on the TV or music to drown out the fireworks, and give them something to do like a chew toy. Keep items like table scraps, glow sticks, and alcohol out of reach as the are all toxic to animals.
Make sure your animals are properly ID at all times. If your dog gets loose it will be much easier to find them when they have a ID tag and microchipped. These methods are cheap and effective. I recommend updating your information regularly and taking your pet to a Vet of kennel to make sure the microchip is working properly.
5. Managing your pets anxiety.
Knowing how your pet may react during fireworks is very helpful. Most of the times, simply petting them will calm them down enough to get them through the night. Small cats and dogs might be better off in their kennels if their anxiety runs high. If you have a very anxious pet I suggest not leaving them home alone. There is a wide variety of pet anxiety solutions on the market from treats, to pills and even jackets.
Set your pet up for success, dont assume they can handle it on their own. If you feel your pet will have an issue with the fireworks while your out of town, kennel them for the night. If you are staying home, bring them inside for the night and make them as comfortable as possible. The safest way your pets can celebrate this holiday is by better preparing them for the festivities..