Is Your Dog Terrified by Fireworks?
You might love the 4th of July fireworks, but there’s a good chance your dog doesn’t. For dogs that get especially stressed, it can be a nightmare time of year for owners.
If it’s your first 4th of July with a new pet, assume there will be problems unless proven otherwise. Most dogs are scared of loud noises.
Make Sure Your Dog Can Be Found
This is the busiest time of year for lost pets. Shelters dread this time of year because the number of lost and panicked dogs coming in is crushing.
Sadly, not all owners will be reunited with their pets. Shelters are only required to hold a dog for a few days before the dog can be put up for adoption.
Before the season starts, make sure your dog has a collar and id as well as a microchip with current information. In the past, you used to have to pay an annual fee to keep your pet’s chip current. There is now a free microchip registry that anyone can use.
Make Sure Your Dog’s Microchip Information is Current
Most pet shops, especially the national chains, will have a microchip scanner and will scan your dog for free. Any veterinarian office will do the same. Once you have your chip idea, you can either contact the original registry to make sure the information is available and current, or register the dog at the link that’s above.
If your dog doesn’t have a microchip you can get your pet microchipped for just $5 at Front Street Animal Shelter in the city of Sacramento. Outside of the city, microchips are available for $19 and may help make the difference of whether you get your pet back.
Important Pupdate!!! As of this time (2019), you can get a coupon for a FREE microchip from any fireworks stand in Sacramento.
Make Sure Your Yard is Secure
Sometimes pets aren’t just lost. In their panic, they can be injured and even killed. Trying to run from the noise is a natural instinct and dogs in a panic may open gates, climb walls, or dig out of your yard. Even if your property is gated, make sure the gate is locked and not just closed. Better still, don’t leave your dogs outside, unattended during fireworks season. (Also, cat owners, make sure your cats are indoors during fireworks season. They can also get lost and frightened.)
When Dogs are Terrified of Fireworks
Both the sounds and the sights and smells of fireworks can be very frightening to pets.
Some dogs will clearly panic and it’s obvious to any onlooker that the dog is not ok. Some dogs are in a blind panic and will do anything possible to try to escape. More subtle signs may include pacing, panting, trying to hide, or even as subtle as just seeming to be restless.
What Can You Do for Your Dog on the 4th of July?
Comfort Your Dog
Some people think it’s not okay to reassure and comfort a frightened animal. They’re afraid they will teach the dog to be scared. But fear doesn’t work that way! They won’t learn to act scared for attention. So if they’re comforted by your presence or touch, please be there for them!
Talk to Your Veterinarian
If your dog is more than a bit anxious, speak to your veterinarian. There are many prescription medications that can help keep your dog calm this time of year. While there is a lot of internet advice about various over-the-counter or herbal products, they may not be tested, safe, or effective. Your veterinarian can best guide you to keeping your pet from panicking.
Turn Up the Noise!
White noise apps can play in the background to help soften the noises of fireworks exploding. You can also turn the tv up or play some music.
While not everyone can do this, some people may choose to pack up their dogs and go to a place where firecrackers and firework noise won’t be a problem.
What Probably Won’t Help
Anxiety wraps like Thundershirt, CBD oil, Adaptil collars may make a small difference but if your dog is truly in a panic, these things can be more like bringing a butter knife to a gun fight.
Noise Sensitivity in Dogs
If your pet is scared of noises at other times of year, your dog may have a noise phobia or noise sensitivity. This is something I can help you with. Feel free to contact me for a free 15 minute phone consultation.