The 4th of July (or “the end of the world”, as your dog knows it) is right around the corner, and this your friendly dog safety PSA. It’s no secret that fireworks can really scare the crap out of your dog (or cat). Still, most people don’t take the potential dangers seriously. Raise your hand if you’ve had a 4th of July pet scare. *raising hand* Okay guys, I’m going to tell you a story, but you have to promise not to judge. The guilt and temporary fear was punishment enough.
Here it goes. Four years ago, Blake and I were living in a cute little house down by the beach. Every year, our old street turned into a complete shit show, if I’m being honest. People were everywhere, and everyone is drinking. We decided to have a dozen or so friends over to watch all the mayhem unfold. When it came time to fireworks, we climbed a latter and settled in on the roof. As the fireworks boomed overhead, out of the corner of my eye I saw two dogs take off down the street, clearly terrified of the commotion.
It took me all of two seconds to realize those were my dogs. I only had two at the time, such simpler days. Anyways, someone must have left the gate open to our backyard. Partly from being in complete shock that those were my well behaved dogs, and partly due to being stuck up on the roof, I sat there frozen. Next thing I know, my brother and my husband’s cousin hop off the roof and book it down the street after my pups. Miraculously, they ended up catching both dogs and bringing them home, safe and sound.
No one needs to tell me how lucky I am that my dogs were not lost or harmed. Having been in the dog business for the better part of a decade at that point, I very well knew the potential safety concerns pertaining to the 4th of July in particular. And you can bet your ass that I’ve never been so careless since. For years, I had been telling clients what they should do in order to keep their pets safe on the 4th of July. Now I knew that the rules applied to me too. My dogs and I were no exception, no matter how well trained I believed them to be.
4th of July Pet Safety Tips:
Lock ’em up!
This sounds harsh, but better to be safe than sorry. Aside from scary fireworks, the commotion of your neighbor’s bbq or the block party down the street may be enough to put your pup on edge. No matter whether my husband and I are home or not on the 4th, our house is locked up like Alcatraz, with our dogs safely inside. If you are going to give them access to the yard, make sure your gates are locked and that they can’t jump the fence.
Can I see some identification, please?
In the unfortunate event that your pet does make a run for it, proper identification is crucial. Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with an up to date id tag. If he should runaway and be found by a stranger, or animal control, they will know who to call.
Drown out the noise.
Even though I know there is no possible way my dogs can escape, I still worry about the fireworks. I don’t want to come home to a trashed house because my pack got spooked by the ominous and continuous booming. So, I turn on the TV at a slightly obnoxious volume in hopes to drown out the craziness happening outside. Classical music is always a good, calming option. You can also turn on appliances loud appliances, such as a fan or the AC.
Party over here!
If you’re having the party at your house, provide your pet with a calm and quiet room, with access to water and food. Secluding your pet to a separate area of the house will help prevent them from sneaking out the front door while guests are coming in and out. If things start to get noisy, refer to “drown out the noise” above.
Keep them occupied.
Give him a frozen Kong full of peanut butter that he can work on all night long. Try a treat that will take some time to consume, such as a bully stick or an antler. Buy him a new toy and give it to him shortly before you head out to watch the fireworks. Provide your dog with some sort of distraction to help ease their fear.