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Fourth of July is right around the corner and it is the summer’s biggest holiday, often celebrated with pool parties, barbecues and of course, fireworks. While most of us love fireworks and look forward to seeing the night’s sky light up with them, our dogs are not as excited about the bright flashes of light or the loud sounds that come with them. A dog’s hearing is four times more sensitive than a human’s, making all the whizzing and bangs that come with a firework show very unnerving for them, especially when they don’t know there is nothing to fear.
Keep reading below for a few tips for how to best prepare for your dog to have a safe and happy Fourth of July.
Leave Fido at home. Please do not bring your pet to a fireworks show. They will be the safest and most comfortable at home. If possible, leave your pet inside the house with a TV or radio on to drown out the noise and the blinds/drapes closed to block out the bright flashes of light.
Create a safe space for them. A properly introduced crate or a cozy dog bed will give your pet a place to go to that they feel safe and protected from the commotion outside.
If you have to leave your pet outside, do not let them have free roam of the yard. A frightened dog who feels unsafe will do what they can to flee the area, including jumping fences and digging holes under fences. Keep your pet in an outdoor crate and cover it with a blanket to shield them from the bright lights and muffle the loud sounds.
Ensure your pet has proper identification. July 5th is the busiest day of the year for most animal shelters, as they are inundated with pets that panicked from the sounds of the fireworks and fled their homes. If all of your safeguards to protect your pet fail, having proper identification on your dog will speed up their return home.
Stay at home with your pet if possible. Your dog will feel the safest and most comfortable with you by their side. If you can, stay at home with your pet for a majority of the fireworks show with the windows and doors closed to muffle the sounds from outside.
Hire a pet sitter. If it just isn’t in the cards for you to stay home on the Fourth of July, consider hiring a pet sitter for the evening. Your pet will feel more at ease with someone there to calm their nerves.
Remember that while it is human nature to want to comfort our dogs when they are nervous, comforting them like we would a child can actually have a negative effect. Dogs often interpret soft talking and petting as praise. It's important only to praise calm and relaxed behavior as opposed to anxious and nervous behavior. If your pup suffers greatly from anxiety around fireworks, or thunderstorms, consider purchasing a ThunderShirt, a dog anxiety vest, which applies gentle, constant pressure, similar to swaddling an infant.
Use these tips to create a more comfortable environment for your dog.
We want you and your pets to have a fun and safe Fourth of July this year. With some preparation and understanding that your dog experiences this event very differently than you, we know you can make it an enjoyable holiday for everyone.
Happy 4th of July!