Fireworks Frighten Pets –Tips for Your Pet’s Safety

We humans enjoy the Fourth of July Holiday.  The fireworks displays are dazzling and the booms are amazing – to us.  But they frighten many dogs.  In fact, there is a spike in dogs escaping and running loose. 

For many dogs, fireworks can send them into a frenzy. Dogs don’t see this sparkling display and hear this ear-popping noise from the same perspective that we humans do. Davy, my German Shepherd, is fine with the commotion.  But, my little Walker Hound, Ginger, trembles from the first neighborhood firecrackers popping off down the street to the spectacular crescendo resonating from the community fireworks displays.  Here are some tips to stay safe, have fun, and take good care of your pet:

Create a safe place for your dog

Keep your dog inside, and don’t leave them alone.  Close the windows and blinds. Provide a safe den-like spot (crates are a good choice).  A ThunderShirt or similar compression wrap or garment may help keep them more relaxed.

Provide distractions

Give them a full meal ahead of time and something fun to do when the festivities begin such as a frozen treat-filled peanut butter Kong to chew or other safe chew-toy to gnaw on. Fans, white noise machines, audio books, music designed for pets, or leaving the TV on may help.  Pay attention to your dog to divert his attention to you – cuddles and assurances are always welcomed.

Pheromones & pharmaceuticals to the rescue!

Adaptil is a pheromone scientifically proven to help calm dogs. You can spray Adaptil on your pet’s bedding or on a bandana that you place around your pet’s neck. Or you can buy an Adaptil diffuser that emits pheromones continuously.  Adaptil collars are available too, but they need to be worn about one week before they are effective and they stay effective for about one month.

In serious cases, talk to your veterinarian about medications that may keep your pet comfortable through the celebration. Veterinarians say that July 3rd is usually the most trafficked day in their offices with clients coming in to get sedatives for their dogs.

Plan Ahead & Pay Attention  

Give your dog plenty of exercise on the day that fireworks are scheduled to help settle them for later.  Make sure they are wearing ID tags. If you are hosting a party, keep your pets away from the grill, alcohol, and unsafe foods:  chocolate, xylitol, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, onions, avocado and bread dough.  Also be cautious with décor that could be harmful if swallowed:  shiny or colorful wrappers, sparklers, and glow sticks among other tempting items.

You know your dog best and how much to intervene better than anyone. Remember that their fear is real and can put them in danger. By keeping your dog in a safe place and providing him with distractions, cuddles, and TLC; you’ll be able to keep him safer and calmer during the upcoming festivities. And that means you can have a happy and fear free holiday.