Dog Days of Summer
by Cherise Stivers
July 4th is a day of celebration— fireworks proclaim and indulge the sky and booms echo throughout the valley, eulogizing the lives and history that declared our country as free and independent. The Fourth of July is possibly one of the most fun and exciting holidays as an American. But as a dog, it can be one of the most terrifying.
But who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Listed below are ways to keep your furry four legged family members content and secure during the firework season:
1. Keep your pets at home and inside:
According to PetAmberAlert.com, more pets go missing around the 4th than any other time of the year. This means that the ideal place for an anxious dog (or cat) is to be indoors in a familiar place. If your dog is traveling with you for the holiday, keep them inside or crate them if they are prone to destruction if not supervised.
2. Favorite place:
If you don’t crate your dog, make sure they have access to their safe space in the house. Whether that’s your bed, a toy basket, the couch, whatever, let it be available to them to seek comfort.
3. Ambient noise:
Be sure to close all windows and doors to minimize firework booms. This will also decrease any possibility for Fido to become Houdini. You can even play music or turn on the TV to provide background noise.
4. Treat them:
Most dogs are willing to comply with the reward of a treat. If you give them something to concentrate on, like a bone or some other form of treat, it will distract them from the loud noises, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Be responsible, yet creative with ways to distract your dog with treats or bones.
5. Confidence is key:
Most dogs look to their human and reflect behaviors. Don’t punish them for being afraid, and don’t overly console them or act anxious yourself. If you act calm, they will most likely parallel your behavior and be calmer themselves.
6. Take a walk:
Before the festivities begin, take your dog out of the house to expend some energy. Go on a long walk or jog, play fetch in a fenced area or dog park, or take them on a hike. Draining their energy may make them tired enough to sleep or rest the remainder of the evening and help keep them relaxed during the firework show.
7. Got ID?:
Finally, remember to make sure they have their ID tags on— a microchip is even better— should they make a run for it. Ensuring their identity will increase their probability of being returned home quickly and safely.
Of course every dog is different— some may respond to these tips better than others, but being patient and paying special attention to them on The Fourth of July is worth the effort if it means keeping those fur babies safe and sound.