A few years ago I lost my dog on the 4th of July. My house is on the water, so we had fireworks at my house every year for the last 5 years.
That 4th of July was different, maybe because she was older, the fireworks scared her. She wound up lost for 24 hours. My family and I spent hours searching for her, calling her name.
That night was the worst night of sleep I’ve ever gotten in my entire life! I couldn’t turn my mind off – “was she cold, scared, or hurting?” I
t was a like a tape that kept playing around in my mind over and over. I kept praying that someone would call to let me know they’d found her.
Luckily she had her collar with my name and number on it. This included her vet clinic rabies tag and licensing tags.
Turns out while I was fretting all night, couldn’t sleep, worried to the point of being sick – she was eating, sleeping in front of a warm fireplace nice and cozy with not a care in the world!
A neighbor a half mile up the road had found her. Because it was late at night, they waited until the next morning to call me.
After that, I noticed how many pets went missing on 4th of July. While fireworks, barbeques and other 4th of July traditions are fun for us, for our pets it’s frightening or even dangerous.
How to keep a dog calm during fireworks
Fireworks are noisy, the booming, firecrackers can scare even the calmest pet.
The debris from fireworks and food lying around can harm our pets causing unhealthy reactions, ending up with sick pets.
Whether you’re planning a 4th of July celebration at your home or you are going somewhere and leaving your pet behind, it’s important to take precautions.
Preparing in advance:
- Your dogs or cats should have up-to-date identification information.
- Have your pets micro-chipped and registered.
- There is a free microchip registry for your pets. Here is the link for registration. This is the best way to get your pets back if they become lost.
- Take a current photo of your pets. You never know when you’ll need it.
If your pet has a tendency toward anxiousness consider a calming coat. These coats are an anti-anxiety and stress reliever for dogs. If you’ve ever swaddled a baby to calm him or her down, a calming coat provides the same therapy for an anxious or scared pet.
“You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, “My God, you’re right! I never would’ve thought of that!” – Dave Berry
I always recommend keeping your pets indoors during the fireworks celebration. If you’re your pet must be outdoors, check your yard to make sure it is safe and secure. That your pet can’t get out of the yard.
- It’s best to leave your pets at home instead of going out with you to see the fireworks. Even familiar friends homes, being outdoors can scare a pet.
- When leaving your pet home consider having them in a safe escape-proof room. I leave the television or radio on to help drown out the sound of the fireworks.
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How to keep dogs calm with fireworks at your house
- Ask your guests to help keep an eye out for your pets.
- Remind your guests and kids to keep the sparklers or fireworks away from the pets.
- Keep your pets away from the hot barbecue grills.
- Don’t feed your pet table scraps. Even the most resilient dog’s tummy can get upset during fireworks.
- If it’s hot or humid, consider keeping your pets inside. Make sure they have plenty of water and shade.
Traveling Out of Town
- Consider leaving your pet with a pet sitter or a kennel. Talk with the kennel on their plans to keep the animals calm and secure during the fireworks celebration. Most kennels will leave a radio on to help cover and calm the most scared of pets.
- Take a familiar bed, blanket or even one of your t-shirts with you to the kennels. Your scent will help keep your pet calm.
After the celebrations:
You’ll want to check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing your pet outdoors. There have been times my neighbors set off fireworks only to have it land in my yard.
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