Certainly one of the more problematic and scary holidays for your dog is the Fourth of July with the sensory overload of explosions and bright lights. Most dogs don't like loud noises and often panic at the whizzes and bangs.
In fact, July 5 is the busiest day of the year for most animal shelters. Why? The Indiana Proactive Animal Welfare, Inc. (PAW) stated that animal shelters the day after Fourth of July are "inundated with pets that panicked at the noise of firecrackers and fled into the night, winding up lost, injured or killed."
Remember that a dog's sense of hearing is acute -- on average four times more sensitive than ours.
So that you and your dog stay safe this 4th, here are some great tips:
- If you are staying at home, keep your dog indoors. If you are going to a fireworks display, don't bring your dog.
- If your celebration includes drinking alcohol or beer, keep it away from your pet. Alcohol or beer can cause a dog to become dangerously intoxicated, go into a coma, or in severe cases, die from respiratory failure.
- Make sure your dog has pet identification in case he gets scared and runs away.
- If your dog is used to it, put him in a crate or kennel to create a calming refuge.
- Keep your windows and curtains closed to reduce noises and bright flashes.
- Turn on a TV or radio to distract your dog and help him relax.
- You may put sunscreen or insect repellent on yourself, but don't assume it is okay for your dog as well. For instance DEET can cause neurological disorders. What isn't toxic to humans can be toxic to animals. Check with your veterinarian or other pet care provider for recommendations on pet-safe sunscreens and insect repellants.
The best idea? If possible, stay with your dog during the majority of the fireworks. A dog often reacts more intensely to loud sounds and flashes of lights when you are not with him. Or consider hiring a pet sitter.