All of us have probably had, at one time or another, a dog afraid of thunderstorms or loud noises. With herding dogs, this is especially prevalent as they are bred for keen hearing and senses, so often the booms and crackles of fireworks are enough to scare any dog into bolting. Read on to learn how to keep your dog safe!
1. DO confine your pets! This may seem cruel to crate or confine your pets, but there is a reason that most animal control centers work round-the-clock on 4th of July weekend. Many family pets are frightened by fireworks and people setting off firecrackers, especially in urban and suburban areas, and go missing from yards or run away from their owners. The safest way to make sure your pet is not going to pull a Harry Houdini in your yard is to make sure they are confined indoors. We recommend confining your dog at the very least during the major fireworks hours when most cities or counties are setting off their large, official fireworks displays.
2. DO check your fence! If your dogs are in a fenced area, make sure to check your fence a couple of days prior to the fireworks to make sure there are no areas where your pet can escape. Despite some counties’ restrictions on fireworks, they can still be easily obtained and set off in neighborhoods, which can frighten your pet, so to keep from having to chase them through yards and over hill and dale, it’s advisable to check your fence. Look for any gaps or any areas that could be easily dug away. It only takes a few seconds for a frightened dog to dig under a fence.
3. DO make sure your animals have identification! This is key in helping animal control reunite you with your pet if your pet does go missing. Make sure any tags are up to date, and that your address and phone number are prominently displayed on their collar. It’s a good time to check and make sure that their collars are properly fitted and in good condition as well, and replace as needed.
4. DO check for alternative methods! If your dog is frightened by loud noises, employ some calming methods. There are lots of over-the-counter products that can help your dog calm down or remain calm. We recommend trying:
- Bach’s Flower Remedies – Rescue Remedy – this is a simple tincture that only requires a couple of drops. It does take 45 minutes or more to kick in, so make sure you prep this well in advance and read the instructions on the bottle for how much to give your pet.
- Thundershirts – These are extremely user-friendly and will often help calm a pet down quickly. They can be used in a variety of situations (stressful car-rides, during thunderstorms, vet visits) and are machine-washable. They are simply wrapped around the dog snugly, and act as an anti-anxiety wrap to help calm your pet.
- Through A Dog’s Ear music – This is a great way to induce calm and help keep your pet on an even keel. Simply press “play”. TADE music is specially written for pets and they offer a variety of calming CDs and downloads to choose from. They even offer music to help train your dogs to no longer fear fireworks!
- Adaptil collar – This is a collar that contains the same type of hormones that mother dogs release when puppies are feeding, and it can assist a dog to remain calm even much later in life. Simply place the collar over the dog’s head and allow the collar to do the work.
There are many other natural ways to help calm your dog, and some of use a combination of all or some of the above to help our dogs fight anxiety, especially during the fourth of July.
5. DON’T be afraid to seek professional help for your pet! If your pet is a danger to themselves because of their anxiety, please seek veterinary assistance! There is no shame in medicating your pet if they truly are anxious and excessively fearful, and we would rather seek veterinary help than let a dog go into a panic and possibly hurt themselves trying to escape. Medications do take time to work, however, so if you know your pet is going to be very fearful of all the loud noises and may seek to escape in any way possible, seeking veterinary help now is key.
6. DON’T take your pet to the fireworks displays! We know you love your pet and want them to be with you, but the loud noises from fireworks displays can be hurtful and even injure your pet’s hearing permanently, not to mention it is very scary to most of them. Keep them safe at home.
7. DO close your doors and windows at home. This will not only help reduce the noise, but it will also help prevent your pet from escaping your home in a panic.
There are plenty of other recommendations for, as some of our herding dogs think of it, The End of the World AKA the Fourth Of July, and this is only a brief overview. Help keep your pet sane and help make Animal Control’s life easier by making sure your pet is safe at home during the holiday.