More dogs go missing around the July Fourth holiday than any other time of year. Most dogs are scared (or petrified, in my dog’s case) of fireworks and will bolt if given the chance. Losing a pet is one of the most heartbreaking things a pet owner can experience, and many times, lose pets are never found.
Enough with the sad stuff. Keep your faithful friend safe this Independence Day with a few basic precautions.
1. It should go without saying: never take dogs to fireworks shows or leave them outside during the festivities. Keep them indoors in their crate or other comfortable spot with their favorite toys. My dog is too nervous for it, but providing a treat puzzle or playing a game with your dog may help distract him, too.
2. Be sure your dog is wearing a collar. Even if you’re keeping your pup safely indoors, there’s always the chance that he may bolt out the door if you open it for the pizza guy or run past the kids as they go outside to join the fun. Keep your dog’s ID tags and microchip information up-to-date.
3. Make your home comfortable. Close the curtains, windows, and blinds. Keep white noise going in the area where your dog is staying, such as a fan, television, or even specially-designed soothing music from Through a Dog’s Ear.
4. Use anxiety aids. The Thundershirt was no match for my dog’s neurosis, but many people have had good luck with it. Even wrapping an Ace bandage around your dog’s torso (firmly, but not too tightly) may help reduce the shakes. The constant gentle pressure may soothe your dog’s nerves (a similar concept to why we swaddle babies for comfort). Pheromone diffusers like Comfort Zone may also help.
5. Don’t forget the felines. Most cats are characteristically unflappable, but some may be spooked by the shaky-booms, too. Keep your skittish kitty safely enclosed in a low-traffic room with plenty of toys to distract her until the fireworks are finished.