There’s no arguing that the 4th of July in Washington DC is an amazingly patriotic experience. People come from all over to witness the impressive fireworks show on the National Mall that can be enjoyed from the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial or from rooftops across the city.
It’s a chance to step into those ridiculous jorts, put on those star spangled t-shirts and celebrate the good ol’ US of A with friends and some brews. Your pets, however, are definitely less impressed despite those cool American flag bandanas you’re forcing them to wear.
More dogs are lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year. That’s because many dogs don’t like fireworks and when dogs are afraid, they often panic and run. So please, while you’re enjoying yourselves, ensure your pets are safe and secure at home with as little exposure to the unfamiliar noises as possible. Below are a few tips to help you and your pet make it through the holiday unscathed:
Ensure your pet is properly identified via your contact information on his or her collar. A microchip is always a good idea too.
Consider trying out a Thundershirt. These hug the body and provide a sense of security for your pup, much like swaddling does for an infant.
If you are going out of town, ensure your pet sitter is aware of your pets’ behavior when stressed under the circumstances and has the proper tools and advice to deal with it.
Find a spot in the house that is less exposed to the noise of outside and cozy that up for your pet with their bed and maybe a sweatshirt that smells like you, along with turning on fans and some music to drown out the outside noise. If your dog is crate-trained, ensure that is available to him or her.
Close windows, doors, curtains and blinds securely whether you’re home or not. Scared dogs will try to escape by any means possible.
If it is your first 4th of July with your pet, and you’re not sure what to expect, consider staying home with them.
Consider a natural calming aid like Melatonin (the dosage is 3 mg for a 50-lb. dog—adjust the dose by bodyweight). There are also many other natural calming supplements for dogs, including herbs, homeopathics, and nutriceuticals, available at any pet supply store—you may want to try more than one to see which one works best for your dog.
One word: TREAT. Be generous with treats for ignoring explosions. (In addition to being a reward, food has a beneficial effect on brain chemistry.)
Remain calm. Dogs will feed off your energy whether it is negative or positive. The best thing to do is to act completely normal and remain calm to convey to your dog that there is no real danger.