By Christian Ackman
July 4th is next week, and for many dog owners, that means much angst and concern for our favorite pups. From a dog’s perspective, fireworks are loud and unexpected. Some dogs get extremely frightened, and can cause damage to your house, or even flee and run away. This video even shows a poor dog who ran away from her family on July 4th. The more we can control their environment the safer we can keep them. When the Fourth of July rolls around each year, I make sure to be prepared and have a game plan for my dogs during any nearby firework shows.
- Do not bring your dog to a fireworks display. They do not understand the sounds, sights or smells of fireworks. This unfamiliar show can stress even the most socialized dog. They are safest at home in a familiar setting.
- Keep your dog inside. An air-conditioned area or for some a crate or contained room can help keep them calm and relaxed in the July heat. Being inside also helps mute the noise, and substantially reduces the risk of them getting loose and running off.
- Provide a safe space. Dogs find comfort in small spaces when they are nervous. If your dog is crate trained, that is the best place for them during fireworks. If they aren’t comfortable in a crate, moving their dog bed into a small area, such as a bathroom or closet can be beneficial.
- Eliminate visual stimulation. Close any curtains or drapes so the dog cannot see the fireworks. Covering their crate can also be beneficial to keeping them calm.
- Update identification information. If your dog does manage to get loose during fireworks, having an address and phone number on an ID tag makes getting them home safely much easier. Having your dog microchipped is also a good way to identify them. Some areas are providing free microchips prior to July 4th in preparation for scared wandering pups.
- Keep them busy. Giving your dog something to do will help keep their mind off the fireworks. If they enjoy chewing on bones, chews, or a Kong toy, these are all great options to help keep them calm and relaxed.
- Invest in a tactile wrap. If your dog is inconsolable during fireworks, there are several wraps designed to reduce anxiety in dogs. These can also be great during thunderstorms, travel, or any other stressful activity.
July 4th is a fun and exciting holiday to celebrate our independence, but it is unfortunately one our dogs need to sit out. Extreme stress is hard on dogs, and it’s our responsibility to keep them safe during fireworks season. With the proper tools and information, we can all keep them as calm and comfortable as possible.
Christian Ackman is a Kentucky native, growing up with a fascination for all animals. For as long as she can remember, she has been an avid dog and horse lover. As time went on, her passion for horses grew, and she went on to pursue a degree in Equine Science and Management from the University of Kentucky. Christian enjoys expanding her never ending knowledge on animals, and spending time with her two Thoroughbred horses and three dogs.