Independence Day is a great holiday for all Americans. Every family prefers to celebrate this event on a grand scale. But ... what about our pets?
As many dog owners will attest, fireworks can be terrifying to dogs of all sizes and ages. Dogs obviously have no clue that exploding fireworks are simply expressions of celebration. They see bright flashes in the sky and hear ground shaking explosions. The experience can be absolutely horrifying for dogs. For dogs that already have a fear of thunderstorms, the fireworks seem like incredible lightning flashes.
So, how can you make the Fourth of July easier for your dog? Here are some tips from me and my dog (who is terrified by thunder, lightning and explosions of any kind). Please keep these in mind as the holiday approaches. If you know someone with a dog that is planning a fourth celebration, please e-mail them this article.
1) Keep Your Dog Away From Fireworks Displays
If you are traveling to the fairgrounds or the beach for a fireworks display, leave the dog home. It is natural to want to include the pooch, as they are an integral part of the family, but this is one time where it is best to leave them out of the family dynamic. Believe me, they won’t miss a thing and you will enjoy the display more without worrying that your dog will get scared and run off.
2) Keep Your Dog Indoors
Preferably in their favorite “safe place”, whether that be their bed, their crate or even a particular spot in the house. If your dog feels safe in a specific place, let them stay there, even if guests ask to see the dog. Simply explain that your dog is skittish during fireworks, so she or he is taking a nap.
3) Keep The Doors Closed
If you have guests going in and out of the house, make sure that your dog does not have access to the door that keeps opening and closing. Someone once told us that more dogs are lost during the 4th of July Weekend than any other. We haven’t had a chance to fact check that yet, but it does make sense.
4) Keep The Curtains Closed
This helps during thunderstorms as well. Dogs often see the flashes in the sky and assume that it is lightning. Keeping the curtains closed is a small, but helpful technique for lessening the dramatic effects of fireworks and lightning.
5) Play Soft Music In The Background
Start the music before any fireworks display or storms start, so that the fireworks blend into the music. Keep the audio at a low to medium level, and increase it a bit during the loud parts. This can help mask the intensity of the firework detonations. Stick to soft jazz and avoid classical with loud crescendos.
6) Keep Your Dog On A Leash
If you are dead set on having your dog stay outdoors for a fireworks display, please have your dog on a reliable leash and harness. This goes without saying, but you would be surprised how many dog owners still think it’s okay to let their dogs roam free and simply hope nothing bad happens. If Ary has to go outdoors to make potty, once again, make sure to walk them on a leash. If fireworks go off while your dog is outside, they may want to flee, or become disoriented.
Independence Day is one of the greatest holidays. Families come together for food, conversation and a sense of pride in their country. However, it can be your dog’s least favorite. By ensuring that your dog is safe, comfortable and away from all of the commotion, you can help make the holiday weekend more bearable.