July 4th is a holiday that many look forward to. American flags fly over yards, people have parties, and dazzling explosions of fireworks adorn the sky. For your dog, however, July 4th is a frightening time full of strange objects, new people, and deafening noises. It is also a very dangerous time for your pets and is something you must prepare for.
For animal shelters, the 4th of July is one of their most busy times. Many dogs panic when they hear the explosions from firecrackers, feeling as if they need to escape. They dig under or jump fences and bolt out of open doors. This might seem strange to you, as fireworks aren’t that loud, but, to your dog, they are deafening. Dogs can hear almost twice as good as humans and from distances four times as far. So, even if you live in a neighborhood where nobody shoots off fireworks, your dog can still hear the loud booms from far away.
If you notice your dog getting nervous when fireworks start to go off, try to distract him. Give him a favorite bone or treat, play with his toys with him, and pet his favorite spot. Don’t leave him unsupervised in the yard on the 4th of July; he could easily become scared and escape. The safest place for your dog on this holiday is in your house in a quiet room or his cage.
Never bring your dog with you if you are going somewhere to watch fireworks. This may seem obvious to you, but to some it isn’t. Once, at a local high school my humans went to watch fireworks at, there were some people with their dogs. I guess they wanted the dogs to enjoy the pretty explosions too, but the only thing it probably did for them was hurt their eardrums and cause fear. Also, dogs who are scared are more likely to bolt off or bite, which can be very dangerous. If you are shooting fireworks off at your house, put your dog in the house in his cage or a quiet room with a soft bed and favorite toys. Go into the house frequently to check on your dog and, if he is afraid, stay with him and pet him, telling him what a good dog he is. If your dog is afraid of fireworks, it probably is not a good idea to do them at your house.
If you have a party on this holiday, make sure not to forget your dog. Parties can be confusing to dogs, and we tend to get underfoot. Put your dog in his cage or in a room where it is quiet, and give him some toys and a bone to keep him company. Also, make sure to follow these party safety rules:
- Put all purses and bags on top of the counter or table, away from your dog.
- Don’t feed your dog any candy or table scraps (learn why here).
- Make sure your dog is not underfoot so he doesn’t get stepped on. Ouch!
- If your dog gets very excited when company arrives, put on his leash so he won’t jump on anyone.
- Before company arrives, take your dog for a long walk or play a game of fetch. This way, your dog will be tired during the party and won’t jump on anyone. He will be very happy to lie on his bed and chew on a bone or toy.
Fourth of July can be very frightening to dogs, but, if you take precautions and distract your dog, he will have a safe and stress-free holiday.
Happy 4th of July!