Thursday, July 2, 2015

Independence Day - Not your Dog's Holiday

The Independence day holiday is fun and exciting for you and your family.  Outdoor cooking, family gatherings, warm summer weather and to top everything off at the end of the day, fireworks.  The happy day and the weeks leading up to the fourth, bring fear and panic to many family dogs.  The loud fireworks are insulting to the dog's sensitive ears and they do not understand that it is a celebration for their human caregivers.  To them it sounds like a war zone.   There are some things that you can do to help your pet cope with the holiday.

Don't take your dog to a public fireworks event or party.  You may think that your pet wants to be involved in the family celebration however a crowded, hot and noisy event will not be enjoyable to your dog. 

Be sure that your dog or cat has proper identification in the event that they escape during the stressful fireworks.  A well fitting collar with an ID tag and a microchip should be in place.  Also, check the yard and secure the fences and gate so that your pet can not escape if he gets startled. Don't leave your pet outside after dark when the fireworks will be in full display.  Try to get them out before hand so that they can stay safely inside during the noise of the celebration.   Create a safe place for your pet to hide indoors if they are fearful.  A place in the center of the home with a dog bed or crate may make the dog feel safer.  Having music or a TV playing in the evenings with the fireworks are booming may help distract from the sounds outside.  You can also engage your dog in play to keep their minds off of the sounds outside.

Exercise may help your pet diffuse some of the fear energy that they build up.  Take your pet on a long walk  in the late afternoon and get them very tired.  It will help them cope with the stress of the evening.   

If you have a fearful dog, try keeping your pet leashed with you in the house.  You may need to contact your veterinarian to see if you can get some calming medication for your particularly skittish pet.  Your veterinarian will help you to decide whether your pet needs some form of medication to help them cope with the stress of the day.

Enjoy your 4th of July celebration and remember to consider your pet.