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Safety Tips for Pet Owners This 4th of July

Keep your pets in mind this Fourth of July — fireworks can sound 10 times louder to dogs than they do to humans.

Independence Day celebrations are great fun for people, but the loud noises and bright lights can be traumatic for dogs. The explosions, excited voices and visual stimulation can create confusion and fear.

Animal shelters report that the Fourth of July holiday brings record numbers of runaway dogs to their doors. These dogs have been frightened and made frantic by fireworks, both sanctioned and unsanctioned. By being aware and thinking ahead, we can keep our dogs as safe and comfortable as possible during the revelry.

  • If you are going to a fireworks display, leave your dog at home where it will be the most safe and comfortable.
  • If you go to a holiday event, never leave your dog in the car. A partially opened window does not supply sufficient fresh air, and it creates an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.
  • Always keep proper identification securely fastened to your dog’s collar in case it gets out. Talk to your veterinarian about implanting a universal microchip in your pet, and make sure that your veterinary clinic and animal shelter have your correct contact information in their database.
  • Don’t leave your dog outside. If you cannot bring it inside, cover his dog house with a blanket to protect him or her from the bursts of bright lights and loud bangs. A dog’s sense of hearing is acute — over 10 times more sensitive than humans’.
  • Create a special den-like area in your home where your dog feels safe. A properly introduced crate or kennel can be a calming refuge for it.
  • Some dogs become destructive when frightened. If you don’t use a crate, remove any items in the room which your dog could destroy or which could hurt itself if it chewed them.
  • Keep your dog away from the front and back doors. Your dog may be under significant stress, which could result in unnecessary injury to others or cause him to dart out the door and become lost.
  • Keep windows and curtains closed to reduce noise and bright flashes.
  • Turn on a TV or radio at normal volume to distract your dog from loud noises and help it to relax.
  • If possible, stay with your pet during the majority of the fireworks. A dog often reacts more intensely to loud sounds and flashes of lights when you are not with it. Remember it’s OK to use a leash to help with your dog inside the house.
  • Calming preparations and Thunder Shirts can help reduce the level of stress.
  • Consider hiring a pet sitter to stay with your dog while you are away from home.

July 4 is a time for fun and celebration. By taking these precautions, you and your pets can have a safe and happy holiday experience.

Can you imagine what it would be l ike if your hearing were around 10 times as powerful as most humans? 

How will you keep your pets happy and safe on the Fourth of July? Tell us in the comments. 

Sally Morgan July 02, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Much of this applies also for cats ...and other animals.. If you have an indoor/outdoor cat...BRING IT INSIDE. If you cannot afford a pet sitter and cannot be home with your pets, sometimes leaving a radio on with QUIET music..or even a tape with you voice on it, can help a establish a sense of normalcy and security for your animals. Loud noises, flashes of lights, etc are part of the problem...changes in routine, strangers coming in and out of the house also add to the disruption of the household. Providing your animal with a safe and secure and private place they can retreat to and away from noise and confusion will help...one that it is familiar with . If you must be away... leave something with your scent on it...like an old teeshirt, etc... that they can lay on and put it in a familiar place that they can access. Make sure ALL alcoholic beverage are out of reach of your animals. Have a Happy and SAfe 4th of July. Sally Morgan Welch Friends of the Formerly Friendless
Marlene Vasilieff July 04, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Great advice Gail! You too Sally! Thank you!

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