Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Calm on the Fourth of July: Easy ways to keep your dog safe

Fourth of July -- barbecues, parades, patriotism, red, white and blue --

What does your dog do when the fireworks go off near your house? Have you ever watched your dog when there's loud booming noises?

Many dogs freak out over loud noises, particularly thunder and fireworks. In Florida you have both in abundance in July. Even though Fourth of July is one day, fireworks can last for weeks in Florida. People go to those pop-up fireworks shops, sign the paper promising they'll use the fireworks to scare birds from crops, and then spend the next few weeks blowing stuff up and guess what, rarely any birds around.

Fortunately, Lulu seems to be able to deal with fireworks. I lived close to Universal for years. But my Mom's dachshund Cappy I know goes nuts when he hears fireworks or thunder.

The anxiety from fireworks can cause your dog to cower in a corner. But it can also spook them enough that they'll tear through a house, smashing and knocking things over to get away from the sound. And some -- will escape. In facts, more pets are lost on July 4th than any other holiday.

Pet Amber Alert.com released this infographic with some basic tips:

But there's more your can do:
  • Compression: A Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap is an easy way to do that. But you can also use a towel or tight t-shirt to get the desired effect. The idea is akin to swaddling a baby. The compression in certain spots is meant to soothe the pet. It doesn't work for everyone, but these kinds of compression shirts have had a lot of success, so it's worth a shot.
  • Distraction: Now is a good time for a big bone or a Kong or a favorite toy or an antler, something that will allow them to chew and or otherwise distract them.
  • Scenting: When you create that safe space for your pet, include an item of your own that has your scent on it. If you are going away for Fourth of July, this will help them feel a bit more secure.

    Also, try essential oils or calming candles. Lavender, chamomile, vanilla, valerian, sandalwood and jasmine are all helpful scents. If you use essential oils, be sure to follow the instructions. If you put them on the dog, be sure not to put it directly on their nose and keep it away from their eyes.

    You can also try lighting scented candles. But don't do it close to their pet bed, and make sure you are still home when they are lit.
  • Know your dog: You need to know if your dog is afraid of fireworks.  You need to know how to react. If your pet will react violently and possibly hurt themselves -- maybe you should stay home.
  • Be up to date: Make sure your microchip contact information is up to date. If your pet gets out, it could mean the difference between coming back to you and being re-homed... or worse.
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!


  1. This is one of the Most Stressful Days Ever for us. You made such a good point about knowing your dog. Emmett is totally fine and barely even acknowledges the noise. Lucas flips out. Like, complete meltdown and panic. It's heartbreaking. (Then Cooper feeds off of Lucas' pandemonium...) All those ideas are really fantastic, especially in combination with each other, though I've found that cranking up the radio or TV seems to amplify Lucas' panic because he's SO sound sensitive. Good luck this weekend!!

  2. We do all these things: we plan a movie night in, with the shutters closed up, and Huffle is welcome to join us for the movie or hide in his safe cave if he likes. He tends to stay underfoot though, quite literally in most cases, and that's fine by us as long as he's not terrified.

  3. Very good tips! What are your plans this year for the 4th?

  4. Hope you had a great 4th of July!

  5. This is really awesome advice! My Norman is completely scared of the loud noises. I've also heard about technology that can help like Through a Dog’s Ear is a series of audio CDs developed by Victoria Stilwell, with calming music and full instructions on how to introduce loud noises gradually.


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