7 Ways to Prepare Your Pup for The 4th of July
The rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air—a dog’s worst nightmare?
For some dogs, the 4th of July is just another day. But for others, it’s a stress-filled time of sudden noises, deafening booms, and blinding flashes. Talk about sensory overload! No matter how calm, cool, and collected dogs may be 364 days of the year, this week of loud sounds can turn them into whimpering furballs or lead to fast-dash escapes.
That’s right: escapes. Did you know that thousands of dogs run away around the 4th of July? And it’s not just the day itself. The entire week surrounding the holiday sees all sorts of fireworks celebrations that can trigger your dog. They don’t care about our freedom and independence; all they see are exploding lights, and all they hear are blasts, pops, whizzes, and thunderous crashes. Your pet doesn’t have to be a habitual bolter to suddenly head for the hills.
It’s a potentially stressful time. So how can you prep your pup for the Fourth? Check out these seven tips for keeping your pets safe, and hopefully it’ll be a more enjoyable holiday for both you and your pet.
Create a pet-friendly space with no loud sounds
If your home has a basement, or even a well-insulated room or storage area, take advantage of it. Creating a safe, clean, and stress-free getaway for your furry friends away from windows and doors is a great way to support your pet. If you think your pet will feel left out of your holiday celebrations—don’t worry, they won’t. That extra stimulus can turn even the most home-loving pup into a terrified little guy whose only instinct is to get out!
Counteract loud noises with your own gentle noise
For most pups, it’s not the noise that sets them off; it’s the unexpected suddenness of the noise. To muffle the noise of fireworks, play relaxing music or white noise to help create a stress-free zone in your home. Even an easy-listening radio station with soothing music near their safe space goes a long way toward easing their fears. Just be sure to check that your easy-listening radio station isn’t having a fireworks celebration simulcast. It doesn’t matter how intelligent your pup is—no dog will enjoy listening to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.
Pet owners: don’t bring your pets to fireworks displays
Headed to a fireworks celebration? It’s probably best to leave your dog at home, even if you’ve got a carefully trained gun dog that’s used to loud noises. Why? Because there’s just no way to know for sure how pets will react to the flashing lights, bombastic booms, and large crowds.
Even if your dog is controlled, other pets may not be, leading to all sorts of challenging interactions between dogs, their owners, and the public. Plus, pets generally prefer to be in recognizable surroundings, especially when faced with the kind of visual and auditory cacophony of July 4th.
Update your pet’s ID tag and microchip information
Sometimes, no matter how well you prepare your pets and your home, they’ll find a way to get out and go! That’s why it’s critical to make sure your dog’s ID tag or engraved/embroidered collar information is up to date.
The ultimate insurance is to have your dog microchipped with your most up-to-date home address, phone numbers, and even email addresses. Microchipping your pet is worth it for so many reasons, as detailed here by the American Kennel Club.
Don’t forget to puppy-proof your grill!
While it’s easy to think that preparing for Independence Day is all about getting your pup ready for loud noises and bright flashes, there’s one other hazard many people forget about: outdoor grills and firepits. For meat-loving animals like dogs, there are few things more attractive and saliva-inducing than an outdoor grill full of delicious meat and other foods. Just imagine the smells their highly sensitive noses can revel in. And that’s the problem. Those enticing aromas come from fats sizzling on red-hot coals.
A critical question for outdoor cooking enthusiast: is there any way my dog can hurt themselves near my grill? And don’t forget their tails! Dogs like Labrador retrievers (who are always hungry) have tails like steel whips, especially when the dog is near such aromatic fare. So it’s not just puppy-proofing your grill you need to worry about. You have to tail-proof it, too!
Glow sticks? We recommend no sticks.
Old-school fireworks like sparklers, while not as popular as they once were, are increasingly being replaced by multi-colored glow sticks for obvious reasons (e.g., fire danger, risks to children, etc.). But there’s a hidden danger to dogs in those colorful, kid-friendly alternatives: the chemicals inside.
As every dog owner knows, curious pets like to chew on things, and glow sticks are no exception. Pets don’t need to be massive chewers to be enticed by these al dente pseudo-treats. Plus, you can never be sure what chemical concoction is contained within those tubes. For that reason alone, we say “NO!” to glow sticks.
In case you need another reason: just imagine the mess an open, chewed up neon stick would make both inside and outside your home. Give the pup a favorite toy instead, and leave those colourful chemical wands at the store.
Bug spray? No way.
Independence Day is smack dab in the middle of summer, and in many parts of the country, that means one thing: mosquitos. While there are many bug sprays that claim to be dog-safe, we believe preventatives like those from Elanco, the official sponsor of preventative health products of Southeastern Guide Dogs, could be a more effective way to go. Ask your vet for the right preventative for your dog. And the best part? It can work on ticks and fleas, too.
On July 4, dogs can have a good time!
A stress-free Fourth of July for your pups is possible, but only if you’re prepared for it. We hope these tips will help you get ready for this popular summer holiday. Anything you can do to lessen the anxiety of your dog will be greatly appreciated, especially by your best furry friend.