The 4th of July (otherwise known as Happy Scare the Crap Out of Your Dog Day) is this weekend, and it’s time for some basic management techniques to help your pets make it through the festivities.
- Make sure your pet’s tags and microchips are up-to-date. If the ID tags have been worn smooth or haven’t been updated with current information, get out the sharpie and write your contact information on the inside of the collar.
- Even if you normally take off your pet’s collar in the home, consider leaving it on during peak noise and activity times. The sharpie trick won’t help if the collar is hanging on a coat hook when your dog bolts out the door
- Keep the dog inside the house, in a crate or closed off area, away from high-activity zones. If you just plan to put the dog in the back bedroom, make sure the window is secure; pets have been known to bust right through window screens – and even windows – if they panic. Tape a big piece of cardboard over the window if necessary.
- If you have a very noise-sensitive or -phobic dog, talk to your vet about possible medications to help keep him calm during the worst of the fireworks.
- Take your pup out for a long walk well before the festivities start, so that he’s tired and more inclined to sleep than panic. Make sure he has a safe place to retreat, a Thundershirt or a TTouch wrap to provide calming pressure, a stuffed Kong to keep him distracted, and a human to provide comfort and reassurance.
- If you’re going to a fireworks show, leave the dog at home. Even well-behaved, well-socialized dogs can get easily overwhelmed in big, noisy crowds with bright lights bursting thunderously overhead.
- After the fireworks are over, and before you let your dog out into the yard, scan the ground – firework detritus can be sharp as well as poisonous, and no one wants to spend the rest of the holiday weekend at the emergency vet.
If you have any techniques that you find particularly helpful during fireworks and thunderstorm season, tell us about them in the comments. Have a happy and safe holiday!