For most of us the 4th of July is a time to celebrate our Countries freedom. But, for our dog’s it can be a day and night filled with terror. So, right now, before the festivities begin, is the time to make sure you can help your K9 Kompanion’s make it safely and comfortably through the holiday.
If your dog has a fenced in yard, do a walk around to make absolutely sure that there are no holes or gaps where he can escape through the fence. I would also look for anything that he might be able to climb on to escape over the top of the fence as well.
Once you’re sure your yard is secure, check the windows and doors in the house. Keep in mind that a even a small dog can escape through a screen if she’s frightened enough. The safest thing to do is to make sure that all windows are closed and locked. If you must keep windows open, keep your dog from having access to those rooms by using a baby gate or closing the door.
Now let’s look at some ways to comfort your dog during the actual fireworks display or thunderstorm. Some dogs do really well with some kind of body wrap, such as a Thundershirt. A Thundershirt is a tight fitting wrap that applies pressure to your dog’s body and has a calming physiologic effect. I’ve found that I get better results by putting the wrap on about a half hour before the event starts. In conjunction with the wrap, I also give a calming supplement. I like Quiet Moments chews. They’re short acting and my girl was always awake and back to herself after about a half hour. For some dog’s, a pheromone spray on a bandana around their neck, their Thundershirt, or bedding is helpful too. If your dog/cat is extremely petrified of fireworks and thunder, please talk to your Vet about some meds to help them cope.
One other thing that you can do for your beloved kompanion is, create a “safe zone” somewhere in your house, in a bedroom closet or under the cellar stairs, where they can go to hide. Setting it up with their favorite blankets and some doggie music will comfort them and help drown out the noise. There are recordings on the market designed specifically for dogs. I have used Through A Dog’s Ear for phobias and to help my dog’s relax when there’s a lot of people visiting. It just sounds like classical music to us, but it’s calming to them. I would suggest practicing with these products ahead of time so that your dog knows what to expect during the actual event. That, in itself will be comforting to him. Take him to his safe zone when there is no noise and hang out there with him. Let him enjoy a bone or stuffed Kong there so that he can build a positive association with the area. Order or download the music now and start playing it for her. That will help her to remember that it’s a comforting thing when it plays during the fireworks. The same holds true for the Thundershirt. Put it on during an average day so that it won’t denote any scary things about to happen. Our Molly used to stand in front of the drawer where I kept hers as soon as she heard a rumble of thunder!
Whatever you decide to use, please make sure that it’s do-able before you actually need it. With a little advance planing and preparation, Rover can be safely riding out the 4th calmly by your side.