With the 4th of July just around the corner, I’m making plans on how my family and I will celebrate. I really love this holiday as I think it epitomizes Americana. For me it includes outdoor activities, potluck picnics with friends and family, red and white checkered tablecloths, fresh squeezed lemonade, patriotic music, all culminating with a big firework display just after dark.
As I’m planning what the humans in my family will be doing, I’m making sure to plan how my dogs will spend the day, too. They will absolutely love the day spending time with friends, family, and possibly other dogs, but they are not fans of fireworks. I have three dogs right now with varying levels of tolerance for the sights, sounds, and smells of the 4th. This is what I have found has helped them:
WEAR THEM OUT
I will find ways for my dogs to be active and have fun earlier in the day, so they are tired and more relaxed.
MAKE THEM COMFORTABLE
Before night fall, I’m going to be sure all my dogs have pottied and eaten their dinner. I will put them in an interior room (basements are great, too), turn on the lights and draw the curtains closed so the flashes will not be as noticeable. To help them relax, I’m going to play soothing music such as Through A Dog’s Ear (which may also provide a bit of a sound buffer), diffuse lavender, and spray Adaptil (a dog appeasing pheromone) on their bedding. If you don’t have any relaxing music to play, you can leave the television on. It’s a good idea to check the program guide to be sure there will not be any fireworks displays or other shows that might trigger fearful reactions. I may also have some wear a compression garment like a Thunder Shirt to make them feel better.
TALK TO YOUR VET
In the past, I’ve had dogs that still showed signs of excessive fear even when I took all the measures above. For those dogs I contacted my veterinarian who recommend supplements or prescribed sedatives that helped them mentally and physically relax so they don’t experience the trauma of the evening.
HAVE YOUR BACK UP PLAN READY
Finally, I have had all my dogs microchipped and know the information with the microchip company is up to date. ID tags are also good, but they can fall off collars or sometimes even collars come off dog’s necks. I know If my dogs are frightened and run away, the best way to get them back is for them to have identification. Like so many others, I also take lot of pictures of my dogs on my cell phone. This can be a great resource to share on social media sites so friends and neighbors can also be on the lookout and help get my dogs back home.
With a little advanced planning, there are thing that can be done to help prepare your dog for next year’s 4th of July fireworks displays. For now, these measures can greatly help you and your dog have a better, if not an outright happy 4th!