Think Of Your Dogs On July 4th
I wanted to start by making a snarky comment about horrible and/or unintelligent dog owners, but realized that maybe some dog owners really, truly, honestly don't know.
FIREWORKS ARE SCARY TO YOUR DOG.
I've only met one dog in my life who wasn't scared by fireworks, and that's my current basset hound Chester. We learned it by dumb luck when the neighbor shot off a bunch of fireworks while Chester was outside; he just stopped, looked up at the show and then put his nose back down and kept sniffing. Totally unfazed.
Our other dog Ollie was terrified of fireworks but was totally fine with almost anything else. Well, expect baths; he hated those, but that's another story.
Anyway, let me re-state. FIREWORKS ARE SCARY TO YOUR DOG.
More dogs are lost and/or surrendered to shelters on July 4th and the following days than at any other time of the year. While we enjoy a light and sound show, the fireworks aren't understood by dogs. The explosions are an attack on their hearing, vision and even their sense of smell - and they don't understand it.
Here are some tips to help your dog cope with fireworks this weekend:
- Take your dog for a walk, preferably a long one or several shorter ones, before sundown, to wear them out.
- Close up the doors and windows, turn on the TV, music, fans or anything that may drown out the noise from the explosions.
- If you can, stay home with your dog when fireworks shows are planned near your house.
- If you're home, sit with your dog. Don't hold him/her or force cuddling, as that can reinforce their fear. Instead, play games to distract them
- Don't leave your pet unattended outside, even if they're in a fenced, secure yard.
- Simply leaving the dog in their crate may not protect it; they can chip their teeth and break their nails on cages.
- Make sure your dog has current ID tags at all times.
The following info is from the CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C.:
"When she was an animal control officer, Dr. Kate F. Hurley, now director of the Koret Shelter Medicine Program at Davis’ Center for Companion Animal Health, said she saw dogs jump through plate glass windows when fireworks went off. She handled other dogs that jumped fences, slipped leashes and broke through doors."
If your dog does run away, check shelters for 60 miles around, said Janet Winikoff, director of education for the Humane Society of Vero Beach in Florida. When truly scared, dogs can travel miles, she explained.