Though we are focused on the fourth of July, precautions should not only be for that day, but sadly, should also be taken for the week leading up to it when revelers start “practicing” or “testing” their fireworks inventory. A peer of mine was preparing to keep their dog safe for the fourth last year, yet despite the precautions they were prepping with, they did not take into account for some idiots lighting off fireworks during the days leading up to the fourth.
So precaution has to start being applied a bit earlier than you would think.
Some dogs are not phased by fireworks but then there is another group of dogs that just don’t like these horribly loud and flashy things going off in the sky. The sky that is normally quiet but suddenly starts “barking” at them and flashing lights down on them where no lights should be coming from.
The noise and light can be a very disorientating experience for a dog that can see and hear so many more times better than humans. Because of their acuity, these loud sky booms are truly, LOUD BOOMS. They can get startled, much like you can, with every boom, because literally, unlike you, they aren’t expecting more of the same.
Fireworks can be scary for your dog and if your dog already has issues with thunder and lightning, responsible pet owners already know the drill to help your dog deal.
This human holiday is the holiday that more pets end up running away and getting lost than any other holiday. Can you blame them… the sky is attacking them! The loud bangs and bright lights are much closer to the ground than the natural occurrences of lightning and thunder. And their instincts, when frightened, are to run away.
And when they are in flight mode, no matter how well trained, their dog brains are turned off and they will run until they are exhausted or don’t feel afraid any more. In this state, dogs have no higher reasoning to kick in. They aren’t aware of where they live or even running towards a safe location they know. They just run when in flight mode. The morning after the Northridge earthquake, I saw so many dead dogs on the streets and freeways just because of this flight mode, so I had this lesson drilled into my brain the hard way.
What Can You Do To help Your dog deal or prevent your loss of your beloved family member?
For starters, ID CHIPS
Either update, verify the information online associated with your dog’s chip or GET YOUR PUPS CHIPPED and FILL OUT THAT information online immediately.
Chips can be an invaluable method for IDing your dog and they can’t be lost or removed like a tag can be. And face it, how many countless stories are we starting to see these days about humans being reunited with their lost pets because an alert vet staff member scanned for a chip?
– You can put them somewhere indoors where they can’t get out. And they may feel a bit safer.
– You can go somewhere safer than your home if you live near a large display. Or if your pup is particularly troubled, maybe doggie daycare overnight.
– You could put them in their travel kennel and place it somewhere safe in your home, or at least in a place as protected from the outdoor events as possible.
– Some suggestions even include acclimating your pup to the sounds of fireworks, starting two, three or even four months in advance. This process includes playing the sounds of fireworks before they eat, walk or their play time. Over the course of the months leading up to July, slowly increase the volume you play these sounds at.
– Other measures include sedation and/or thundershirts. These measures can work, when introduced at the right time, which is before they get into that riled up state. This measure could be considered if your pup is particularly prone to possibly hurting themselves. Talk to your vet about these options.
– The last measure, at the very least, is to show your dog there is nothing to worry about. Do not make a fuss about the show of lights and sound. Your dogs are capable of keying off your own energies. So by not making a big to-do about the fireworks, you can try to set an example. Remember, words are your tools, not theirs. Use your body language in conjunction with your words.
– Another good measure that is suggested is to take your dog out to play with them and vent their excess, pent up energies mid-afternoon of the fourth and possibly the days leading up to the fourth, so they don’t have that reserve of kinetic energy ready to be released in an all out dash for safety.
No matter what the situation,