Oh, July 4th… while we humans look forward to barbecues and fireworks, it remains a day that many of our precious pups dread. The houseguests, hot temperatures, and noisy bottle rockets can drive some dogs into a panic.
On top of that, my dogs usually won’t use the yard to relieve themselves between the hours of about 6pm until whenever the big bangs are over which can be anywhere from 1-4am. But still, they’d much rather hold it than go outside.
More than being uncomfortable, July 4th is the day —more than all others during the year— that dogs get lost. It’s also a day that many dogs get injured.
The loud fireworks scare many dogs and that combined with have company over and distracted owners, is a recipe for disaster. The top three breeds that run away are Labrador Retrievers, Chihuahuas and the Pit Bulls. Above all, make plans for your dog before guests arrive. Try to keep him in a gated area where he can see people but cannot get out. Or if she is an anxious type, consider keeping her in a quiet, but cool bedroom and make it a point to check on her regularly (or have a family member take on this task).
Here are some more tips from Found Animals (an independently funded nonprofit working to find the big ideas that reduce euthanasia in shelters):
Make sure your pet wears ID. Animal shelters report intake increases of 30% during the July 4th holiday due to scared pets bolting from their homes. Outfit your pet with a collar and clearly readable ID tag with your current phone number. In a pinch, a fabric collar with your phone number written on it with a Sharpie works just as well.
Your pet should be microchipped and the number registered in a national registry. A microchip is the only permanent form of ID for your pet. If your pet escapes and loses his collar, he can still be reunited with you if his microchip is registered with your current info. Check, register or update your pet’s microchip for free at Found.org – the first and only national free microchip pet registry.
Leave your pet at home. No matter how well you think you know your pet, they can still be unpredictable when startled or scared. The best place for an insecure pet is the place he knows best. Put your pet in a quiet room where he feels safe and comfortable. If the party is at your house, make sure your guests know not to disturb him or let him out. Do not leave your pet outside.
Leave extra water. Stressed out pets tend to pant more, so make sure to supply ample, clean water.
Try calming aids for anxious pets. If your pet is overly stressed, try putting them in a Thundershirt or use an over-the-counter natural remedy such as Comfort Zone.
Party food is for people. Don’t compound your pet’s discomfort this day by feeding table scraps or foods not normally eaten. Unfamiliar food plus stress can add up to tummy upsets and other health problems.
Make sure your pet is spayed or neutered. Nearly 3 million sheltered pets are euthanized every year. If your pet gets out, or someone else’s pet gets in, avoid unwanted litters by making sure your pet is spayed or neutered.