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A Stress-Free 4th of July for Your Dog

Four dogs wearing red, white, and blue accessories
Sophie, Darla, Julian, Emma. July 4th, 2017

While we tend to think of pool days, BBQs, and fireworks on the 4th of July, for many pet owners, this can be one of the most difficult days each year. Did you know that more pets are lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year? Shelters will be overwhelmed this week with dogs hoping to be reunited with their families. The loud booms can cause even the most well-behaved dogs to panic and run away. Here are my top tips to keep your pup safe and comfortable indoors.

  1. Leave your dog safely at home. If you're planning to spend the day at a friend's house or spend the evening watching fireworks, your dog will be safest at home. Crowded places and loud noises can be overwhelming for dogs, leading to anxiety and potential escape attempts. At home, they have their familiar surroundings and are less likely to be frightened or stressed.

  2. Plan for all walks and potty breaks to happen earlier in the day. If your dog needs to go out later in the evening, be extra safe and put them on a leash even for just a backyard bathroom break. Fireworks can startle dogs unexpectedly, causing them to bolt and potentially get lost. By walking them earlier, you can avoid the peak times for fireworks and ensure their safety.

  3. Speaking of your backyard, confirm all gates are securely fastened and that there aren't any ways to escape through a gap in any fencing. A scared dog can be surprisingly agile and persistent in finding a way out if they’re frightened. Walk around your perimeter to double-check for any weak spots or potential escape routes, and consider reinforcing them if necessary.

  4. Be sure that microchips are updated and your dog is wearing a collar with up-to-date ID tags. This simple step can be a lifesaver if your dog does manage to escape. A microchip greatly increases the chances of a lost pet being reunited with their owner, and ID tags provide immediate contact information for anyone who might find your dog.

  5. If your dog struggles with the noise, plan to turn on the TV, close all windows, use white noise, or turn on fans to lessen the sound of fireworks. Creating a sound buffer can significantly reduce their stress levels. Comfort your dog if they are upset and try to find a quiet, safe space in your home where you can provide a long-lasting chew or stuffed Kong to your pup. Engaging them with a treat or toy can help distract them from the noise and make them feel more secure.

  6. Ask your vet about medication to help with any anxiety your dog may experience. Vets will be very busy leading up to the holiday, so be sure to speak with them in advance! Your vet can recommend the best solution for your dog’s specific needs, ensuring they stay calm and comfortable during the festivities.

By taking these precautions, you can help ensure that the 4th of July is a safe and stress-free experience for your beloved pet. Remember, a little planning goes a long way in keeping your best friend comfortable and secure during this noisy holiday. Wishing you all a safe and happy 4th!


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