Keeping your dog safe on the 4th of July

Posted on July 4th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Keeping your dog safe on the 4th of July

The 4th is an awesome day of hanging out, BBQ goodness, and family and friends time. It’s also a time for serious fireworks and even more seriously freaked out dogs. So many dogs struggle on the 4th with panic attacks, self-injury, and running away/getting lost.

Here are a few tips for today to help ensure your dog makes it through the 4th unscathed and hopefully even a little more comfortable.

If you’re going out and leaving your dog:

  • Be sure to crate him/her and reinforce the crate with leash clips or zip ties. (That way if he panics he won’t get out of the crate.) A dog left out in the house is far more likely to breakout of the house, damage the house, injure themselves.
  • Before you leave, wear your dog out with a vigorous walk/run/hike/play session, so they’ll be more likely to sleep and not be as easily upset by the fireworks.
  • Put their crate in a room that is less exposed to outside noises or outside flashes of explosions etc. Basements or rooms more to the interior of the house with no windows outside are best. If his isn’t possible, be sure to cover the windows or pull shades.
  • Put a stereo or tv in the room and keep the volume LOUD! This works as excellent camouflage for the fireworks explosions.
  • Try covering the crate with a blanket for more insulation and calming den-like atmosphere.
  • If your dog is a known 4th of July panic-er, you can contact your vet (or emergency vet if yours is closed today) for some Xanax, which is a situational anxiety reducer/calming drug. Dogs metabolize Xanax different than us, so be sure to ask your vet what is the proper dosage before administering (if you happen to have some already on hand.)

If you’ll be home:

  • You can utilize the above recommendations.
  • You’ll have to determine whether your dog does better in a crate or out with you in the house. If you see pacing and panicking I’d crate.
  • Don’t leave your dog in the back or front yard unattended even for quick potty breaks or short amounts of time during the peak fireworks time (and maybe even off-peak time!), because it only takes one loud firecracker or skyrocket to send your dog over the fence. Once out, the night of continued explosions will create more and more running/panicking.
  • If your dog starts to panic, be sure not to panic yourself. Stay calm and send the signal of “no big deal”. If you want to soothe your dog, do so in a calm, relaxed manner of massage and emotional neutrality.

So many dogs get out, lost or injured on this day, let’s make sure we do our very best to help prevent this fun time from turning into an ugly and painful one for our dogs and ourselves.

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