How to Prepare Your Dog for the 4th of July
With the 4th of July just around the corner, people everywhere are gearing up for the biggest celebration of the summer. For pet owners, however, preparing for the 4th of July means more than making sure you’re stocked up on party supplies and fireworks for the big event.
With a 30% increase in lost pets each year between July 4th and July 6th, it’s important for pet owners to take the necessary steps in advance to ensure their furry friend remains safe over the holiday weekend.
Here are 5 tips to help every dog owner prepare for the 4th of July.
Make sure your dog has up-to-date identification
Whether or not your plans for the 4th involve leaving the house, it’s important to make sure your pet has up-to-date identification. When frightened many dogs will instinctively try to escape, whether that be out an unlatched door or by slipping through an unlocked gate. The 5th of July is one of the busiest days of the year at animal shelters across the country, but keeping your pet’s ID tags current and securely attached to their collar greatly increases the chances of them being returned home safely instead of ending up at a shelter. If you don’t keep a collar on your dog at all times, make sure they are microchipped and that your contact information is current.
Tire your dog out before the celebration begins
It’s not a bad idea to give your pup an opportunity to burn off some excess energy before the festivities begin. Whether it’s taking your dog for a longer-than-usual walk, playing fetch in the yard, or going for a jog together – whatever your preferred means of exercise is, be sure to get it in well before the celebration begins. It’s also smart to let your pup out to potty before things get rowdy to minimize the likelihood of them getting spooked by a stray firework.
Minimize exposure to stressors
Reduce your pup’s exposure to stressors such as fireworks and large crowds, especially if your dog is easily frightened by loud noises. If you have a particularly anxious dog, you can better manage the situation (and their anxiety!) by keeping them indoors with the curtains drawn, minimizing visual effects such as flashing lights. You can also turn on the TV or some calming music to mask the sound of fireworks outside. Be sure your dog has access to their crate or another safe space where they feel comfortable.
Recognize the signs of anxiety
With that being said, being able to read your dog’s body language allows you to better understand how they’re feeling and adequately manage potentially stressful situations. You should be familiar with common signs of anxiety in dogs, including (but not limited to):
- Excessive panting
- Compulsive chewing or licking
- Tucking their tail between their legs
While each dog is unique and anxiety may manifest itself in slightly different ways, you should be in tune with how your dog displays anxiety and be prepared to address the situation should they begin feeling anxious. There’s also a variety of anxiety treatments on the market, ranging from prescription medications to natural supplements. For dogs with extreme cases of anxiety, it may be worthwhile to contact your vet or local homeopath about medication to help your pup relax.
Set a good example
Lastly, it’s important to be mindful of the message you’re sending to your dog through your own actions. Dogs instinctively look to their pack leader for cues on how to behave and remaining calm and collected sends the signal that there’s nothing for your pup to worry about.
With a little preparation, not only will you reduce the likelihood of your dog unexpectedly escaping during 4th of July festivities, but will also ensure you both have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.
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