Protect Your Pup: The Dangers of July 4th in the US

It's an alarming statistic.

There are more pets lost between July 4 and July 6 than any other time of year. According to it's roughly 30% more. What's even more upsetting is that only about 14% of those lost ever make it back to their families. At a time when everyone is celebrating and having fun, it's important to remember just how dangerous this holiday can be for your pet and more importantly what you can do to safeguard your furry loved one's safety.

First let's look at the scenario - a holiday filled with people making lots of noise, which includes the setting off of bottle rockets, fireworks and other things that go snap, crackle pop. Generally speaking the percussive nature of explosive ordnance is incredibly disruptive for our canine kids. Think about how it feels on your ears, and then magnify the sensitivity of the hearing and you begin to have an idea of how uncomfortable the pressure alone can make them. Then there's the fact of sudden and sharp sounds and flashing lights - neither of which do our pups any favors.

Add into the mix that people are often going to parties at other folks' homes, in public parks and the like - places that are unfamiliar for your dog. This unfamiliarity can pose challenges even on the best of occasions, and on a day when there's this much disruption it can be exponentially more stressful.

So if you want to enjoy the holiday and make sure your pup does too, here are some tips:

  • Do not take your dog out to watch fireworks - Barring a dog having been trained for military or law enforcement work, the likelihood that your dog will freak out at the sound of bangs and booms is almost 100 percent. Thinking that taking your dog to fireworks as a means to socialize them to it? Well, that's just a lousy idea. No better than forcing them to an event as a means to get them comfortable in public places.  That you want to have your dog with you is admirable, but if it's not a good place for your dog, your dog's well being should trump your desire for Fido to be at your side.
  • Provide a quiet calm place - Keeping your dog inside, and ideally inside your own home, is best. Close all windows and doors. This includes closing any blinds or shades. Turn on a fan/air conditioning unit and then turn on music or the TV to a reasonable volume. These things will help equalize the sound and shield the dog from any flashes of light that may also be jarring.
  • Do not sedate your dog - many people think the solution for a stressed dog is sedation. It's not. All the sedation does is render the dog unable to react to the stressor, and doesn't remove the stress. This can mean many things. Beyond potentially getting physically ill from the mediation or having a serious hangover the next day, when the sedation wears off there is a good chance that the dog's behavior can get exponentially worse as it's had no place to dissipate or be dealt with.
  • Identification - When folks have their dogs at home they often take their collars off. On this holiday it's not a bad idea to leave your dog's collar - with proper and full identification tags/information affixed - on the dog. This way if your dog manages to get out, at least they have some identification on them. Now tags fall off collars and collars come loose, so this is also a time to trumpet just how important it is to microchip your dog. If your dogs isn't chipped already it's unlikely to happen before the fireworks get set off on the 4th but worth making sure that you get that done sooner rather than later.