With Fourth of July approaching, as you plan backyard barbecues and enjoying firework displays, please remember that pets may not appreciate the fanfare as much as we do!
You’d be surprised to learn that July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters. In fact, dog shelters report a 30 – 60% increase in lost pets each year between July 4th and July 6th.
Many pets do not react well to the loud noise of fireworks and will go to extreme lengths to avoid them….as in ESCAPE! Consider your dog’s natural instincts to sniff out their territory and guard against inherent dangers. A sudden change in their environment, such as a loud noise, intense flashes of light or gunpowder smells in the air can easily promote a “fight or flight” reaction.
A dog’s acute sense of hearing is more than double that of ours, as they tune in to sounds we can’t begin to hear (regardless of our age). Technically speaking, humans hear between 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz. A dog has the capacity to detect sounds up to 45 kilohertz.* Extremely loud noises then can be especially painful if not anxiety-provoking for a dog.
In the interest of safe pet care, please consider these 12 TIPS to ensure the protection of your dog or cat this coming 4th of July holiday:
This applies every day of the year, yet critically important on July 4th.
(1). Make sure all your pets have proper collars and ID tags, with your current address and phone no. This is so simple to employ, yet innocently overlooked by many dog owners. You can buy a dog collar at the Dollar Store for a buck; tags are $10. Another cheap and easy idea: use a permanent marker and write your dog’s name and phone # on his collar! No tag needed.
Micro-chipping is also a good idea, especially if your dog or cat can’t don a collar for whatever reason. If your dog or cat gets loose, a Good Samaritan, shelter or Veterinarian will know to check for a chip and find you in the data base, for your pet’s safe return.
Micro-chipping service is available at local Animal Shelters for a very low-cost. Visit: https://aawl.org/node/144 ($20) or http://www.maricopa.gov/215/Adoption-Rabies-Vaccinations-and-Other-F#Microchip for details and locations (only $25). AAWL has a drop-in schedule to make it easy and convenient.
For the ultimate in lost-dog return, consider the Whistle GPS tracker. Using smart technology to track your pet’s location and activity, this wonderful device easily attaches to your pet’s collar and can locate a lost dog within 3000 miles. Whistle is offering a special $30 discount until the 8th of July. See our “Pet Shop” tab to link to Whistle GPS Pet Tracker and use Summer19 coupon code. Or click: http://www.shareasale.com/u.cfm?d=421555&m=59310&u=1360766 to place your order.
PLAN AHEAD & EXERCISE CAUTION:
(2). Whether you are entertaining at home or plan to leave the house, find a quiet room where your pets can’t see outside. Play soft music (dogs love Beethoven!). Turn on a fan or use other “white noise” tactics and make sure they aren’t alone for long. If you must leave, include toys, hidden treats and comfort objects in this ‘safety’ room.
(3). Consider pet calming solutions–TRUDOG’s “Calm Me” soft chews might help ease your dog’s anxiety, along with other calming products, including CBD oils or biscuits. Recommended companies for CBD for your pets and Trudog chews can be found on our PET SHOP page @ www.doolittlesdoghouse.com
(4). Exercise your dog earlier in the day. In the cooler morning hours, take him for a nice long walk. Later in the day, play in the pool (if you have one) or use the garden hose to stay cool while fetching a ball together in the backyard.
(5). Research local town news regarding city-planned firework displays, so you can anticipate when and for how long the blast will last. Consult with your neighbors to inquire if they are planning to pop off a few rockets.
(6). Have a full, fresh bowl of water available (anxious dogs pant more so need to drink more) and serve dinner well in advance (anxious dogs often won’t eat).
(7). If you notice that your dog is getting anxious during the fireworks, speak soothingly during the display and shutter the windows or lower the blinds. Do not overly compensate their fear by smothering them with more-than-usual affection. However, if they run for cover, under a bed or behind a sofa, then seek you out for assurance, embrace that opportunity to snuggle and console. Never scold your dog for being scared.
(8). Leash your dog when going outside. As an added precaution during fireworks displays near you, keep your dog on a leash when you let them out to potty.
(9.) Never leave your pets outside alone on July 4th !! Many will panic and attempt to escape. Given their level of anxiety, they may dig under fences or rip through screen doors to flee the scene. This should go without saying, yet begs to be reinforced as an absolute no-no.
BACK-YARD ENTERTAINING TIPS:
(10). If are entertaining outdoors, be careful with human sunscreen and insect repellants. While you apply them on your own skin, make sure your dogs or cats aren’t in the spray. It’s o.k. to use sunscreen on your pets if they are particularly susceptible (thin-coated dogs), provided they are vet-approved topicals.
(11). Be cautious around your barbeque grill! The grease trap is a huge temptation for a dog and is an unfortunate cause of pancreatitis if consumed. Lighter fluids and hot coals should be closely monitored. Coals and hot sparks can jump.
(12). Keep animal treats on hand and ask guests to refrain from feeding the wrong food to your pets. Alcohol, coffee, chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, avocado, fatty meats, nuts, salty or sugary snacks should not be shared with your pets.
Enjoy the celebration of our nation’s independence and have a safe and happy 4th of July!
* Alexandra Horowitz, Inside of a Dog (Scribner, 2010)
photo attribution: 365vet.co.uk