Save $64 on Wellness Exams! We are offering these for $1 for all new clients for a limited time. Click below to make your first appointment and redeem your $1 exam.
Dogs are more likely to run away and get lost on the 4th of July than most any other time of the year. They can be stressed by all the commotion of the cookouts or travel, then on top of that many are in complete fear of the sounds of fireworks. Fear makes even the best of us do things we wouldn’t normally do—like running away to hide from the scary noise then ending up lost. It’s also a tempting time to eat inappropriate things, like dangerous chicken bones from your BBQ, or even fireworks. Yes, according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, they get a lot of calls about dogs eating fireworks. No one ever accused a dog of having a refined palate. (Flint on the nose, lovely, bright acidity with a dry mouthfeel, mineral with a charcoal finish?)
Let’s take a look at a few ways to keep your dog safe on the 4th of July, and even the next time New Year’s Eve rolls around.
First thing’s first. If you know that your dog is scared of thunder, he or she will also be scared of fireworks. Even the small ones you or your neighbors might want to set off are likely to be a problem. Many dogs take off just trying to escape the source of the scary sounds. Maybe they slip out of their collar or dart out a door or gate. They are likely to run and hide without thinking about where they are going: away from the fright is all that matters in the moment. This is how they get lost so easily. If your dog gets lost, and you are unable to find him or her quickly, contact your neighbors for help immediately, and call animal control to see if your dog has been picked up and taken to the county shelter. If your dog is picked up but not microchipped or wearing tags, they will be placed on a 72-hour “stray hold” with the county. You have 72 hours to reclaim your dog.
For extreme cases of fear, it’s possible for your vet to prescribe a medication to help keep your pup calm. This should be done with care and planning, though. Do not ever give your pet a sedative without the guidance of your veterinarian.
If the sound of fireworks near your home is unavoidable, seeking an interior room that is quieter and turning on the tv or music is recommended. Be calm and laid back yourself so that your dog doesn’t pick up on your worry. Some tasty treats to create a positive association can’t hurt either.
Holidays are prime time for dogs to eat things that are bad for them. Be extra careful that your pup doesn’t have access to inappropriate food. Sometimes it’s a matter of an open trash can at a cookout. Sometimes it’s a guest who doesn’t realize that leftover bones from their dinner plate can splinter in the intestines. Don’t be afraid to ask your party guests to not give any food to your dog, no matter how cute those begging eyes are.
The 4th of July is a prime time for travel. Be sure to plan well if your pets are going with you. Be mindful of how travel can cause animals some stress, even if they typically enjoy a car ride. Never, ever leave your pet unattended in a car. You’d be amazed at how easily a car can get too hot, even when the temperature feels comfortable outside.
Lots of new people bustling around can also create stress in dogs. There’s just a lot going on! Be mindful of how your guests are interacting with your dog so that everyone involved has a positive experience.