The Fourth of July is filled with fun, festivities, fireworks, and fantastic foods! However, this holiday can be anything but celebratory if you have four legs and fur–especially for dogs with a fear of loud noises. Luckily, some tips and techniques can help your dog cope and keep them safe. From fireworks to party guests, this article covers some simple ways to make the Fourth of July more fun for everyone, including your dog.
1. Keep Your Best Friend at Home
While it may seem like fun to bring your dog to a parade, party, or to watch fireworks, most dogs benefit from the calm, cool, and comfort of their home. Crowds can make many dogs extremely nervous, and the heat of the day can quickly turn into a dangerous situation for our canine companions.
With your best friend resting and relaxing at home, you can focus on having fun. Without the worry of your dog in tow, you and your family can make memories that will last a lifetime.
2. Create a Relaxing Respite Away from the Excitement
Noise phobia is a real condition for many dogs (and other pets). In fact, one out of every three dogs experiences noise aversion. If your dog becomes fearful when the blasts and booms of fireworks begin (or during thunderstorms), you’re not alone. The good news is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to providing your dog with some comfort.
One way many dog parents help their dogs cope is to create a zen-den for your dog.
1. Select a place where your dog already feels safe. This could be where your dog escapes when they feel their nerves rising or a room toward the interior of your house without windows.
2. Create a cozy place where your dog can rest. This should include:
- Your dog’s bed
- Extra blankets and pillows
- Puzzle toys with your dog’s favorite snack
- Your dog’s favorite toys
- Blackout curtains or window coverings
3. Spray the room with calming pheromones designed for dogs.
4. Lower the lights and put on white noise or calming music.
5. Let your dog into their zen den in the afternoon before fireworks begin.
6. Put a do not disturb sign on the door.
7. Check on them a few times throughout the night, but not so often that your dog cannot relax.
3. Update Your Dog’s ID Tag
July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters across the U.S. This is because the chaotic noise sends many pets into survival mode, which can mean running away. Making matters worse, many dogs that become frightened and run off become disoriented and lost.
Updating your dog’s ID tag increases the odds of their safe return. If your dog becomes lost, their ID tag is the first thing a person will look at to help your dog find their way back home. Additionally, your dog’s ID tag could keep your dog from requiring a trip to the shelter the following day or the overnight wait for a microchip scan.
4. Walk & Exercise Your Dog Before Fireworks Begin
Once the fireworks begin, you want to keep your dog indoors. Even dogs that don’t express fear of fireworks are better off indoors since they can develop a fear of fireworks from the exposure.
We recommend exercising your dog well in the morning before it becomes too hot. Then walk your dog in the midafternoon. This will help your dog release some of their excess energy and give them an opportunity to relieve themselves.
5. Plan for an Early Dinner for Your Dog
Try to feed your dog their dinner after their walk. While it may seem odd to feed your dog a bit early, this can prevent your dog from refusing to eat due to nerves after fireworks begin. It also provides them with enough time to digest their dinner before the evening’s excitement starts. If you’re having guests over, your dog’s full tummy may reduce their appetite and the begging for handouts that can come along with an empty stomach.
6. Remind Guests about Dog-Friendly Food Practices
Dogs are pros at convincing guests that they need to try those special Fourth of July dishes. If you’re having people over, go over your handout policy when it comes to your dog.
Too many handouts can result in an upset stomach, diarrhea, or worse. Keep in mind that many foods can be toxic to dogs including:
- Grapes and raisins
- Cherry pits and apple seeds
If your dog has super cute puppy eyes, and you know your guests won’t be able to resist treating your dog to some tasty snacks, we recommend keeping healthy snacks on hand. This creates a win-win situation for your dog and those guests that cannot resist showing your dog some love.
7. Keep Doors Closed
Before the festivities begin, remind your little ones and guests to keep all doors to the outside closed and secure. If you’re planning on having a lot of guests over, you may want to keep your dog in a zen den (see above) to ensure they cannot slip out the door. These simple proactive steps could keep your dog from darting away.
If your dog does get out, remember that they may be hunkered down in a shrub or vehicle.
Happy Fourth of July from Grubbly Farms!
From the Grubbly crew to your family, we hope your day is filled with joy, love, and laughter. As the fireworks light up the sky and you celebrate the beauty of America, we hope that these tips keep your dog safe and calm. Learn more about how to keep your dog safe from high temperatures and other dangers all summer long by avoiding these summer hazards.