Ten Tips to Keep Your Dogs Safe During the Fireworks

Most dogs do not like fireworks.  Dogs will react in different ways:  they may hide, they may bark a lot, and they may panic and try to escape.  Our friends took their sweet little Schipperke camping in a rural area over the Fourth of July  weekend.  They were confident she would be fine while they went to watch the fireworks at a small town nearby.  Unfortunately, she was not fine, she freaked out.  Although only 12 pounds, she tore the heavy canvas tent to shreds to escape. Sadly, she was hit by a car in her blind panic.  None of us wish that upon our dogs, so do not underestimate the adrenaline rush our dogs experience when they are fearful and the strength they can muster.  Dogs can jump through windows and screen doors, they can claw their way through wooden doors, they will jump,  climb, and dig all in a desperate effort to escape.  They could easily hurt themselves trying to escape.  If they want out, they may manage it.

Xuma

Xuma

There have been two different years where a panicked dog spent the night with us after the fireworks.   Both times the owners were surprised the dog managed to escape.  Unfortunately, many dogs panic during fireworks and escape from their homes. Marc Peralta, Executive Director of Best Friends–L.A., says, “The Fourth of July is the largest intake time for L.A. Animal Services and, as a result, killing at shelters increases to the highest level of the year.”  Make sure your dog is not one of the many brought to a shelter.

Orson

Orson

Here are some tips to keep your dog safe during the fireworks:

  1. Stay home with your dog. I love fireworks as much as the next person, but I love my dogs more.  If you have a partner, consider taking turns each year staying at home with the dogs, while the other enjoys the fun.  Or hire a dogsitter.
  2. Keep the dog inside with you. If they must go outside for a potty break, go out with them.
  3. If your dog hides, respect the hiding place, and let her come out on her own accord. Tell  her it is okay and either stay in the same room, or check on her periodically.
  4. If, like Xuma, your dog starts barking a lot, try distracting her with a favorite toy or high value treat.
  5. Use white noise or soothing music to block the sound of the fireworks.  Close the doors and windows.
  6. Some people sedate their dogs to get through the night of fireworks. If you think that may be a good option for your pet, talk to your veterinarian.  In Los Angeles the fireworks begin in June and continue for a couple of weeks after the Fourth of July — that would be a lot of sedation.  Consider your options carefully.
  7. If you do go to a fireworks show, do not take your dog with you; that just puts them that much closer to the noise, smoke, and bright lights, which cause the stress.
  8. If you are not home, be sure to leave your dog inside. They should be in a safe room in the house, away from any windows.  Only leave them for an hour or two, with toys, chews, water, and soothing music.
  9. Make sure your dog’s microchip is registered and the information is current. Also be sure his tags are up to date and easy to read – the impressions do rub off over time.
  10.  Stay calm, do your best, and know that it will only last a short while.  Yes, the neighborhood kids will run out of bottle rockets and sparklers.

Fireworks are fun for people, but not for our pets.  Be sure your pets are safe so there are only good memories of celebrating Independence Day.

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