Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The real DOG Day of Summer (July 4th safety tips)

AP here:
Did you know that today is not a good day to be a dog with any sort of fear response to loud noises. Humans all over the country today will shoot off very loud fireworks. It is a known statistic that more dogs run away on July 4th than any other day. It is easy to see how this can happen with even the most laid back and well behaved dogs. People are preparing and gathering for cookouts and to either host or to watch a fireworks show, so the attention is focused elsewhere and the dog can easily get overlooked.
Dogs do not understand fireworks specially puppies who have never experienced anything loud and flashy. The squealing whistle of the initial launch ending with a loud bang and very bright lights repeated over and over is enough to make any dog wonder what is happening. A dog that already has noise issues will be set over the edge and even dogs that are normally OK with loud things can get stressed. Gates and doors might not get closed as securely as usual and  an animal that is reacting out of sheer terror can climb/leap fences that they normally would not attempt. Animals in fight or flight mode are not predictable so once out of the yard a pet that would usually just return home can get disoriented.
If fireworks are going to be set off around your pet today here are some simple precautions.

Things that you can do today-

Collar with name tag and contact phone number - even if your dog is micro-chipped a collar and phone number will get them home faster if found by your neighbor

Take a photo of your pet so you have a current on in case you need to post Lost or Missing flyer's

Keep the daily routine as normal as possible and make sure to get in the dogs daily exercise/walk before the party/fireworks start.

Thundershirt your pet this evening if that usually helps with storms (or any anxiety wrap you use)

Confine your pet to one area or the house or crate before the fireworks start. Turn on fans, music or TV's as background noise to block out the outside commotion. If possible shut the windows and pull the curtains or blinds.

If you normally use a sedative or any other calming agent for storms talk to your vet about using it tonight (FYI -July 3rd is a very busy day for your vet as people are refilling their prescriptions for sedatives and asking for tips on how to handle July 4th)

If you are having people over that will be going in and out of gates and doors post signs reminding them to shut them completely due to the dog/cat

There are other dangers lurking for your pet today as well and the ASPCA Tips is a good read.

I make it a point on the morning of July 5th to patrol for any remnants of fireworks that might have fallen  in my yard first before letting Tonka out. This was more important when he was a puppy and everything was a chew toy or something to try and eat but I still do it now to keep him safe.

Just as the 3rd is a busy day for veterinarians the 5th of July is one of the busiest day for your local shelter. If the worst has happened and your dog is missing you will want to contact them first thing before it becomes a complete zoo.

Tonka wants everyone to have a safe and happy 4th.

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