It’s great to celebrate Independence Day–our country’s 235th birthday. The freedom we have to pursue the many opportunities this country has to offer is indeed reason to celebrate.
Some of the ways we celebrate, however, can put our pets’ health and lives in danger. Fireworks are loud and create fantastic displays in the night sky. The professional displays can be awe-inspiring. The amateur use of fireworks can create havoc in our normally calm pets lives. The sudden loud noises and bright lights can cause fear in our pets.
Shelters are filled to overflowing at the end of the Fourth of July weekend because so many pet–mostly dogs–become so afraid that they just run away.
So keep your pets safe with these tips:
- Keep your pet on a leash when you’re outside. Even if you usually don’t need a leash, your well-behaved dog may bolt if a sudden loud noise startles him.
- If your pet shows signs of fear–trembling, tucked tail, lowered head–stay with her even in your fenced yard. Dogs that never leave the yard become escape artists under stress.
- If your dog suffers from intense fear during the fireworks, ask your veterinarian if there’s some medication that can keep her calm.
- Keep your dog in the quietest place in your home–this may be the basement or a bedroom where you can pull the curtains shut to keep the noise to a minimum.
- If your dog is fearful and you have a dog door, keep the security cover closed, so she doesn’t run out. In this fearful state, dogs don’t think–they just react and that’s how so many get lost on this holiday weekend.
- Stay calm yourself. If you’re upset, your dog will feel your anxiety and it will magnify any fear that he feels.
- Plan some calming indoor activities for yourself and your pet. Maybe catch up on the movies you’ve missed or start that summer book you’ve meant to read. Curling up together can make the weekend (and its noise) a positive instead of negative experience.
It’s unfortunate that our pets can be so distressed by our celebrations. The important thing is to recognize that a dog or cat that has never reacted to the noise of fireworks can suddenly be affected by them. Keep them safely with you and you’ll both enjoy the our country’s freedom.