There are so many things to love about Summer. A Day at the beach, fireworks filling the night sky, and camping beneath the stars; just to name a few. While these warm-weather attractions might be fun for humans, they can sometimes be frightening and even dangerous for dogs if you’re not prepared.
I had originally written this article for the 4th of July Holiday, however, the information is applicable to any and all Holidays that involve celebrating with fireworks, as well as various other loud noises like thunderstorms because I would like to help your pup enjoy the festivities as much as you do.
Fireworks can be so upsetting for many types of pets, and anyone who has worked in animal rescue can tell you that more cats and dogs run away from home on the 4th of July Holiday than on any other holiday; even other holidays involving fireworks. It is one of the most important times of the year to make sure that all of your pets are safe and secure. I offer up these recommendations for helping your dog or your cat too, stay safely at home on these holidays involving fireworks celebrations.
- Take your pup out for a walk in advance– way before the fireworks begin, in order for them to exercise, relax, and go potty. If you have a cat, and you do normally allow them to go in and out; for these types of holidays I suggest keeping them safely indoors for a few days and let them use a litter box to go potty and just play with you and some inside toys. *You know how many people get a bit overzealous and start shooting off fireworks way before the holiday itself and some continue to do it a few days afterwards. Best to keep the pets inside for a good 5-7 days total surrounding these holidays.
- Use ‘Common Sense’ and keep all pets inside during fireworks with the doors and windows securely closed, and don’t be under the false impression that a screen will keep them in if they get spooked by these sounds that sound like loud gunfire to them. I’ve seen plenty of dogs and cats run right thru them. Some pets may even feel most comfortable in a small interior room like a bathroom or laundry room. * We rescued a stray dog this 4th of July weekend and she felt most comfortable in a nice hallway we ‘gated’ off for her. Just make sure to remove any items that your pet could destroy, or that would be harmful if chewed or ingested if you put them in a temporary place like this.
- Make sure your pet is microchipped and that all of your contact information is up to date with the pet registry the microchip is linked to. * This is especially important when you are traveling with your pets; and remember to list both your home and your hotel contact information with the microchip registry company. Most of them have an online form where you can conveniently enter changes to your information as often as you wish for updates such as travel dates.
- It is also a good idea for your pet to be wearing an identification tag with ‘their’ name and ‘your’ cell phone number on it.
- If your pet is extremely sensitive to loud noises as many definitely are, you can alleviate your pet’s anxiety by doing things such as: playing calming music on your iPod or radio, petting them and giving them a gentle massage, spraying some lavender essential oil lightly on their/your bedding, perhaps using a holistic product such as Dr. Bach’s “Rescue Remedy” Flower Essence drops directly on their tongue or in their water for anti-anxiety; and do remember that dogs hear 100 to 1000 times louder than we humans do. If a noise seems loud to you, I guarantee it can seem ‘crazy loud’ to them, and often times they are not as ‘afraid’ of something as they are just plain ‘annoyed’ by its sheer loudness and their sensitive ears just cannot take it. It is a natural and intelligent response on their part for them to want to move away from that annoyance as quickly as possible. That’s why it’s a smart idea for you to keep them indoors as much as possible for the entire holiday weekend or celebration involving fireworks.
- If you as the pet guardian don’t realize your pet’s sensitivity level as quickly as they do and help them to move to a quieter, safer place, then they will do it on their own and it may be without you; and that of course is what we are trying to alleviate. Just remember that dogs are telepathic. They already ‘know’ what we are thinking and feeling, and if you are feeling ‘tense’, ‘anxious’, and ‘afraid’, they will assume that they should do the same. The energy vibrations that you give off travel right up and down the leash, and with or without the leash they most certainly do sense every single thing you are thinking and feeling. They look to YOU for ‘direction’ and ‘reassurance’, so be a responsible, calm leader and be aware and help them by being prepared so that you can go enjoy the fireworks or other loud activity if you must, and they can enjoy being in a safe, quiet, non-anxiety ridden place.
- I like to invent ‘indoor’ games for pets to play; not just for distractions from holiday fireworks events, but for Summer long or Winter long fun to help them get exercise and beat the heat or cold; whichever the season may be that is not allowing them to get outdoors as often as they might normally do. You can play games with dogs like ‘hide and seek’ , either with you, or with her favorite toys, make or buy ‘puzzle’ toys that you can hide her favorite treats in and that way she can use both her mental and physical abilityto get them out for a reward. You can even reserve one ‘special’ toy or game to play with indoors ‘just for firework time’ so that the dog thinks ‘positively’ about her toy or game and is only interested in that when she starts hearing the fireworks go off, and she is not concentrating on the loud, booming noises.
- The best part of Summer, whether it’s for holiday vacation time or just every day, is spending time having fun with your pets- because that’s all they want to do; love us and help us relax more and just learn how to have fun!!
By thinking ahead, you can make sure that whatever you do this season, everyone has a great time- especially your precious pup.
Please be kind, respectful and consider that no matter how much you and your pup do love each other, it may not be in their best interest to go ‘every’ place with you and you may wish to consider hiring a professional pet sitter to come to your home and care for her while you take on some of these activities with family and friends.
Be Safe and Have Fun!
Originally posted 2015-09-08 18:54:46.