7 Easy Steps To Help Your Dog Through Independence Day Celebrations
Thanks to Pet Finder Safety for the Poster!
Independence day is right around the corner.
More pets are lost, and ultimately die after July 4th because they break out of the yard and try and flee from the sound of fireworks.
It is sad each year to see those that have perished and the owners that mourn their loss.
The truth is that there are some easy things that everyone can do to ensure the safety of their pets this holiday.
I was infuriated yesterday by a social media post from a so called dog trainer who ultimately blamed the owners of firework and thunderstorm sensitive dogs for not training and socializing.
Don’t get me wrong, I wish this were true because it would make helping and “fixing” these dogs so much easier.
His unethical stance just means he is making money and then, again, ultimately blaming the people.
The truth is that these particular noises can cause pain in some dogs.
Their hearing is so much better that the pops and the booms cause pain and physical harm which results in a phobic response.
Typically, it is not something that you can just “train” away.
But there are some simple things that can help.
1. Exercise During the Day
Spend time with your dog during the daylight hours working on some extreme exercise.
Have you been putting off that 6 mile hike up the mountain? As long as your dog is fit enough and you bring water and a way to cool him, spend the day physically challenging him!
When I lived in CO I would hike the Flatirons (one of my favorite places) it was shady in most spots and I packed my dogs backpack full of ice packs and cold water to help cool his body and provide drinking water.
Think how tired he will be when evening rolls around if you keep him up exercising and stimulated all day?
I also like swimming. I work on perfecting my dogs’ dock diving skills and lots and lots of swimming when I can on the 4th of July. My family gets to either play at the pool or on the beach and I can also make sure that my dogs are exhausted.
Find your favorite outdoor activity (boating, kayaking, swimming, hiking, biking, etc) and include your dog for the day!
This ensures he will be almost too tired to care when the festivities begin.
2. Potty Right Before Dark
Restrict his water in the early evening and perhaps food and potty him right before it gets dark so that he doesn’t have to go outside when the noises begin.
3. Leave Him Home
Dogs don’t particularly care for watching fireworks.
Most don’t understand it and the visual stimulation, along with the smell of things burning can even turn a dog that didn’t mind the sound into a scared and phobic dog.
Plus, you owe it to your dog to leave if he is even a little afraid.
Isn’t it easier to just not bring him?
To me it isn’t worth the risk.
Honestly, I prefer to stay home with my dogs and skip the festivities myself, but at the very least leave your furry best friend at home.
4. Give Him a Safe Environment
Put him inside.
Close the windows.
Crank up the air conditioning (he should be hot and tired after his day out with you).
If your dog has noise sensitivity don’t put him through the pain of shooting off fireworks at your home or in your back yard. Go somewhere else to set them off or travel to a friends to watch their fireworks.
It isn’t fair to bring the fear to his own back yard and so close to his house.
5. Utilize a Crate
And, put him in a crate where he can’t hurt himself.
Many dogs hurl themselves out of windows to get away from the noise of fireworks.
6. Leave the Lights On
Leave the lights on all over the house so he doesn’t see the flickers of light from outside.
As silly as it sounds these flickers can mimic thunderstorms and are also something that is overwhelming our dogs just don’t understand.
Think of it from your dog’s point of view… when the sky lights up at night it is either a storm or fire (both are something to avoid for even an outdoor animal).
7. Turn on Sound
Fireworks can be easier to drown out with noise that thunderstorms (because of the drop in barometric pressure that comes with storms).
Turn on fans! Turn on LOUD music. Turn up the TV.
Static noise that is loud enough will help your dog relax and will lessen the chances of him hearing the cracks and booms.
If you follow these easy steps you will both have an calmer and safer Independence Day!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.