Friday, June 29, 2018

2018 Fourth of July - Preparations To Take For Your Dog

image via Castaic Shelter, SoCal.

The Fourth of July and Dogs.

The fourth is coming and it's that time of year where certain neighbors or neighborhoods are more prone to big illegal (or not) displays of fireworks, which, as many of us know, can be more dangerous for our pups or even cats.

63% of households have pets. Of all the pets that become separated from their families on July 4th, only 14% get back home safely. Up to 60% of pets that become lost end up getting euthanized.

When an animal is frightened, their instincts kick in and no amount of training can help recall them if they hit that "pure flight" mode.  They will run, unabated, not looking for traffic, direction or keeping track of their path.. they just run like hell to get away from what scared them to the core. They do not possess human logic. If they get petrified, they will run until they run out of energy, then run some more. Then when they're lost, if survived running across freeways, highways and other traffic venues, then they find themselves lost because because they did not track from whence they came.

That's how dogs end up in shelters, and if there's no identifying information on your dog,

Whether it's legal or not in your neck of the woods, as far as I'm concerned, it seems to be a piss-poor excuse to act idiotic (depending on the locale) but none-the-less, animal owners have to prepare for the worse because our non-animal owner neighbors just don't think about this. Nor do they care.

You not only have to be ready on the fourth, but you should be prepared the week before and the week after because idiots will be idiots and because of this need to set off explosives in their own faces, this "holiday" is the worse, or busiest time of the year at shelters. Thousands of dogs become lost each year due to this holiday.

Let's look at what pet owners can do to keep our furry family members safe:


One great way to help get reunited with a lost pet is via identification. Collar tags are one great way to help being reunited. But it's not bullet-proof with the shadier human out there that may find your pup. Or the tags get torn off when the pup gets so terrified that the collar or tags catch on something and get torn off.


If your dog survives running for its life through traffic (too many do not) from pure, stark terror, having your animal, dog or cat, being micro-chipped is one of the best ways to get reunited with your pet. If someone finds your pet and takes it to the vet for personal reasons, the vet might discover the chip and things can be corrected.


This seems to be a no-brainer, but maybe keep your pup on a leash when you do potty breaks outside. You might even consider being leashed in your own backyard. You may have never seen it, but a dog, when motivated, can clear an 8 or 10-foot fence/wall easily.


Don't get mad at the fireworks... your pups can key off your reactions, so just blow it off and make like it's no big deal. (You can go strangle people later!)

If your house is big enough, find a place as far inside as possible away from the noise. Help muffle the sounds. You may want to consider crating your dog, (covered crate?) but I'm not sure how effective that could be.

You might want to try and keep your dog busy and engaged with any kind of distraction you can come up with, whether it be games with them, puzzle toys, stuffed treat toys or what not.

You could crank up your stereo or TV to help mask sounds, but animals aren't stupid and it may or may not work.

Just talk to your pup in soothing tones. If they look to you for security, your example may make a big difference.


Check with your vet and see if there's something they could prescribe to help calm your pup if need be. I've seen folks suggest things such as compression products called Thunder Shirts or similar type clothing to help, but I've heard 50/50 on if these things work or not.

If you go to see a fireworks show, do you really need to bring your dog with you? If not, are they properly secured in your house or a room in your house? Because the backyard is NOT a safe place to leave them. I know, you think they can't get out of your yard, but just because you've never seen them scale your wall or that you can't conceive that you or they can't scale the wall does not mean they can't. I watched a cat scale a 18-foot wall, straight up and over, to get where it 'needed' to be. It was impressive but also quite the eye-opener.

Don't let your dog play with fireworks. That seems to be a huge no-brainer, but apparently dogs have tried playing with and catching fireworks, only to have them go off in their mouths.



The biggest thing you can do is to not get mad at your pup for being afraid, it will only make things worse for them instead of being the support system they look to. Coddling isn't always your best approach but if they need it, be their support system, otherwise, just pretend the stupid noises outside are nothing to be upset about.


I've noticed a few other resources making mention of other, non-fireworks related suggestions, like don't use bug repellent on your dog unless it's designed for pets, don't give your pet scraps from the barbecue (unless you've done your research on what foods are toxic to dogs. Like no beer, no chocolate, onions, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt and yeast dough are all potential hazards).


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