Fourth of July can be a stressful day for many companion animals, and shelters report it is one of the busiest times of the year for lost dogs who may become scared and bolt because of fireworks.
The demand for shelter space is so high at this time of year that animal rescuers plan to pull dogs prior to Fourth of July in order to save dogs at risk of being put down to make room for new intakes. One of my favorite rescues, Angel City Pit Bulls, sent out a plea today for fosters and volunteers to prepare for the new dogs they will be taking on.
It’s always a good idea to stay home for your first Fourth of July with a new animal until you know how they will react. Stick to their normal routine as much as possible, making sure they have access to their favorite safe spots – such as the comfiest spot on the bed, their favorite fuzzy blanket, or their crate. Get potty breaks out of the way early and get cozy inside with the TV or radio on to muffle the noise, making sure doors and windows are safely shut. If you are expecting guests don’t be shy about reminding them to close doors and keep animals inside, and post signs on doors if you have to. As always, make sure your animals are wearing tags with current info, and have a microchip.
One of the best ways to keep your dog calm in any situation is by tiring them out! Take them for a walk or to the dog park, or play a long game of fetch before the festivities start – but be careful of rigorous exercise during the hottest parts of the day. If it’s cooler indoors, try getting them a new toy to expend some energy in the house (and keep them occupied during the big event).
Thundershirts provide anxiety relief for some animals, calming nerves by applying gentle pressure to the torso. Other holistic remedies can be helpful such as Comfort Zone, Rescue Remedy, and calming treats. If you’ve exhausted all of your options and your animal is still stressed, you may want to ask your vet if anxiety medication would be appropriate to get through fireworks in the future.
Are there any calming tips that I missed, or have any of these worked for you? Please share your advice by leaving a comment.
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