Here in the United States, July 4th celebrations are fast approaching. That means picnics, parades, and pyrotechnic displays in a non-stop celebration over the next four days. As a kid, I loved fireworks celebrations. Loved the colors, the artistry, and the music that often accompanied the big events. I still enjoy the celebrations, although my appreciation is now tempered by the effect fireworks have on our furry companions.
In our town, fireworks can be set off beginning at 10 am each day and continuing until late in the evening. In reality, it’s common to hear the fizz, swoosh, booms, and bangs far into the night. If your community is like mine, here are a few ideas that can help make the experience safer and less stressful for the pets in your family.
Be proactive. If you have a fenced yard or dog run, be sure the space is secure. Use locks to ensure your dog can’t escape through an open door or gate. Walk your dog early in the day, when it’s reasonably quiet. Skip the evening stroll and stay inside. If you must take the dog out after dark, use a short leash to keep them close. And remember–they pick up on your emotions; if you’re calm and relaxed, they may be less inclined to stress.
Create a safe space. Ideally, choose a location that’s away from windows and doors. If possible, close the blinds, drapes, and interior room doors to further mask the noise of fireworks. Add in familiar sounds such as music, movies, and television shows to enhance a sense of “normal.” Supply your dog with favorite treats or toys to keep them occupied and distract them from the noise of fireworks. (Works for cats, too!)
Have a plan. Make sure your dog is microchipped and wearing a collar with up-to-date ID tags. Take photos of your dog from different angles. Notify friends, neighbors, and officials if your dog is lost. Post photos and a short description on social media and local “lost and found” websites. Simple measures like these can increase the odds you’ll be reunited.
P.S. I was unable to identify the original source of the image used at the top of this post. It’s been included in myriad websites and social media posts–many of which appear when using the Google “Find image source” tool. If you know the source, please leave a comment and I’ll update the post!