This time of year, many pet parents start thinking about safety for their furry companions. It’s a scary statistic, but more pets are lost in the United States on July 4 than any other night. While we are getting ready to do some entertaining here at our house over the holiday weekend, I wanted to remind our readers about some safety ideas to help keep your pets from becoming a statistic. I want to hear that everyone is safe and sound on Tuesday after the holiday is over.
First and foremost, going to the fireworks is no place for a dog, cat, or even a pet flea. Even dogs who have seemed fine before can develop issues later on. Many dogs get more sensitive to noise as they get older and we’ve seen that at our house from first hand experience. I know that spending time together with your pet is one of the things we most like to celebrate, but please leave them at home. It will be easier on them, and probably easier on you, too.
If you know your dog has a strong reaction to the fireworks, there are things you can do to make it easier on them. Some of the things are easy remedies you can do quickly and some require some thinking ahead. So, here’s a list of things that help to make the fireworks easier for your dog.
- Benedryl or Melatonin can help to take the edge off for your dog. Both are regarded as safe by most people that I know, but by all means, please check with your vet to see if he or she thinks it’s okay.
- The Thundershirt has helped a great deal at our house. I know that it doesn’t work for every dog, but I can vouch for it working for our dogs. It helped Lilac a lot, and Bunny wears hers every year during the parade in May and the fireworks in July. We keep it handy throughout the month of July because some people just don’t know when to stop, if you know what I mean.
- Cool, calm places can do wonders. Lilac loved laying in our bathtub, and some theories suggest that the porcelain may help to keep static at bay and make dogs feel better. A cool basement that has concrete floors can also be good for similar reasons. Being in the basement also helps to dull the noise of the fireworks. It won’t keep them out completely, most likely, but it will help to make it more bearable if you have one.
- Our dogs also watch Grease every year during the fireworks. It’s another way of keeping some of the sound at bay, and music can help dogs to relax.
- Some dogs enjoy a Kong or bone or other long-lasting treat during the fireworks. Things aren’t quite so bad when you’re enjoying something tasty. At least, sometimes that’s true, depending on how food motivated your dog is.
- DAP (or dog appeasing pheromones) spread pheromones throughout the air to help your dog stay calm. It mimics a maternal smell that really relaxes and calms a lot of dogs. Many people I know swear by it, but you do need to start using it early for it to have the best effect from what I have heard. It’s all natural and non habit forming.
- For a dog that is very fearful, I would strongly consider using a pet tracker. There are several on the market and the one we have is a Tagg Tracker, which is now owned by Whistle. These trackers have GPS in them and you connect them to an app on your phone. If your dog gets out of the “safe zone” you’ll get an alert on your phone. It will also show you where the tracker is. If the worst case scenario happens and your dog gets out, it can be a lifesaver.
In the end, the best thing you can do is be very careful. When we have company over, the dogs will all be downstairs in the basement, far away from the opportunity to get out the back door if a careless child or distracted adult isn’t paying attention. Nothing would end the party faster at our house than that, so we do our best to keep things safe. As much as our dogs like socializing and seeing our guests, it’s not worth the risk. Even when you do all that you can to try to make things safe, accidents can still happen. Just exercise caution and keep those furry companions safe.