Independence Day is a time to celebrate America with barbecues, friends, family, fun in the sun and, of course, fireworks. When it comes to your four-legged friends though, it can be a stressful time of year, but it doesn't have to be.
- Start early in the day by giving your dog plenty of exercise to release pent up energy and ensure he or she will be more relaxed when guests arrive or when the fireworks go off.
- Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with a tag, even if staying inside.
- If you'll be outside with your dog, securely leash your pet and be prepared for sudden attempts to run and escape.
- Preferably, keep your dog inside with windows and doors completely closed.
- If you're having guests over ask them to help keep an eye on your pet. Place notes on doors and gates to help you and your guests remain vigilant.
- Make sure your pet has a safe place away from the noise of the fireworks. Bringing your pets to a fireworks show is never a good idea.
- Avoid leaving them alone, if possible. But if you won't be home make sure they are in a secure location that they can't escape from. Be sure to lock all doggy doors and avoid leaving them outside as they may jump over or dig under the fence.
- Use a crate or other safe and cozy space your dog can retreat to
- Mask the fireworks noise with sounds from the television or calming music.
- Use toys, treats and interaction to distract your dog from the unfamiliar noise.
- If your dog gets extremely anxiously during fireworks consult your veterinarian about other alternatives.
Signs to look for if your dog is stressing out:
- Cowering, shaking or panting
- Unexpected whining, howling or barking
- Attempts to escape or run away
- Hiding in unusual spots
Other things to keep in mind during the holiday to keep your pets safe:
- Avoid giving your pets table scraps or other food as it may be toxic to them.
- Sun and heat can be very dangerous to your pets so make sure they have access to shade, cool areas and plenty of water.
- Never leave your pets inside a locked car as vehicles can become deadly in just minutes when it's hot outside, and even over time when it's only in the 70s.
Animal shelters tend to fill up after the holiday because dogs always end up running away amid the loud noises, leading to tons of lost dogs. Take a current photo of your dog just in case and make sure he or she is microchipped so they can find their way home.