For most people, the Fourth of July means a lazy night in the backyard barbequing and hanging out with friends. Or in states where it's legal, many people put on their own fireworks display at home. Whether you're planning a get together at home or going to your local professional fireworks display, remember that dogs don't associate fireworks with a celebration. To your dog, the 4th is a scary time with loud noises and flashes of light. If you plan to attend a fireworks display, do both of you a favor and leave Fido at home where he'll feel safe and more comfortable. Scared dogs in a crowd can spell disaster!
In fact, the American Humane Association reports that July 5 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters. Many pets panic at the noise of firecrackers and flee into the night, winding up lost, injured or killed.
Therefore, it's important to keep your dog safe this Fourth of July:
- Don't leave your dog outside. Remember that a dog's hearing is acute - four times more sensitive than yours. Imagine those loud bangs when they are amplified. Create a safe refuge inside, potentially in a crate or a dog bed where he feels safe and can't escape. Loud, crowded firework displays are not the right place for your dog.
- Keep windows and doors closed to minimize the noise and light flashes.
- Turn on soothing music or the TV to distract your dog.
- If possible, stay with your dog. He will feel more protected if you are with him. If your dog seems overly anxious, spend some time with your pet, speaking soothingly to help them to relax.
- Keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pet's reach. Certain matches contain chlorates which can result in difficulty breathing if ingested. Also, lighter fluid can irritate your dog's skin and cause depression if swallowed.
- Don't put people sunscreen or insect repellent on your pets because what isn't toxic to humans can be poisonous to pets. DEET, a common insecticide, can cause vomiting or diarrhea in pets.
- Alcohol can also poison pets, causing a coma or in extreme cases respiratory failure. This applies to hard liquor AND beer.
- Make sure your pet has proper identification. If your dog gets loose, he may jump a fence to safety. Make sure he has identifying tags or a microchip.
- Don't leave your pets in a car while you attend a fireworks display. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise to dangerous levels within minutes. On an 85 degree day, the temperature inside a car even with the windows cracked open can reach 102 degrees within just 10 minutes; after 30 minutes the temperature will reach 120 degrees.