Many get spooked, may go missing
As more and more of the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, this 4th of July could be one when people celebrate at home more than ever before, including with fireworks.
We certainly have a lot to celebrate given where we were last year at this time, but be mindful that more dogs go missing during Independence Day celebrations than at any other time of the year. They get spooked by the noise, take off to get away from it, and cannot orient themselves. Even an indoor dog can panic and break through a screen door or window to escape the noise. It can be hours before they calm down. They could be in such a heightened state of anxiety they may find themselves in areas they are not familiar with and not in a frame of mind to find their way back home.
The one thing they cannot do is speak to tell us where they live so, we must prepare ahead of time for this holiday to get through it together safely.
Make sure your dog has identification. This could be a microchip or a dog tag with owner contact information on it. Even if you think there is no circumstance in which your dog would ever need this identification, why not just do it? There’s no greater heartache than having your dog go missing and knowing they have no identification to find their way back to you. The cost of a microchip? Nationwide, it is approximately $45.
If getting a microchip is too expensive or time-consuming, another alternative is a dog tag. UNLEASHED in Hingham has pet tags from $12 to $20. Even if your dog doesn’t like anything around their neck, ensure that they have a collar on them with contact information for the days leading up to and including July 4, plus a few days after for good measure.
Make sure your dog has had plenty of exercise earlier in the day. A tired dog is a happy dog. This is especially true when an environment is stressful. The walk will stimulate their mind and put them in a state of relaxation to be better-equipped to deal with the stress of noise coming their way.
Keep your dog(s) inside during fireworks, preferably with human companionship. If you have an air conditioner, having it on will help minimize the decibel level of the noise. A radio, TV, or white-noise machine can also help reduce the sound of fireworks. We’ve found that our dog relaxes when we put Dog Music on Pandora.
If possible, keep the curtains shut or lower your shades to avoid the burst of light associated with fireworks.
Speak with your veterinarian about ways to help reduce stress. This could be medications, CBD products, or something like a pressure wrap or thunder shirt.
Provide a safe place for them to retreat, such as a crate with a soft blanket covering it to reduce the noise and visual stimulation.
Fill a Kong™ or other interactive enrichment toy with treats to distract their attention and occupy their interest.
Jill Page is a resident of Hull and owner of Tiny-Paws Dog Walking and Pet Sitting, also located in Hull. You can visit her at www.tiny-paws.com for more information.