The 4th of July is a time to celebrate – after all, it is our country’s birthday. Fireworks, music and cheers are definitely in . But while this day is a time to honor the red, white and blue, all the festivity and noise can make dogs panic and run away.
Indeed, between July 4th and 6th more dogs go missing than any other time of the year, with animal control officials seeing an increase of 30 to 60 percent in lost pets, according to PetAmberAlert. And July 5th happens to also be the busiest for shelters, as they are flooded with anxious, scared animals looking for their owners. Unfortunately, not every dog finds his way back home.
“Sadly, only 14 percent of lost pets are returned to their owners, according to nationwide statistics,” says Mark Jakubczak, certified pet detective and founder of PetAmberAlert, an alert system to help locate lost pet. “And worse, 30 to 60 percent of lost pets are euthanized because they cannot be properly identified and returned to their owners.”
To ensure your dog is safe and sound during this noisy day, here are a few tips to follow:
1. Wear her out.
A few hours before the 4th of July celebration are to begin, take your dog for a long walk, run or play fetch with her until she is tuckered out. A tired dog is much better than a high-strung, energetic dog during these sorts of celebrations.
2. Keep your dog inside.
The number-one thing you can do is keep your dog inside. By doing so, you can ensure he will not run away, trying to escape the noise. If possible, have the windows and curtains close, so the sound and light are muffled.
3. Remain calm.
Dogs can pick up on our energy level. So, if you are anxious or worried, they will be, too.
4. Turn on some music or the television.
Regardless if you are staying inside with your dog to enjoy the holiday, or keeping her safe while you venture out to watch the big show, consider putting on music or the television. This noise can drown out the sound of fireworks.
5. Divert with mind games.
If your dog begins to get anxious, bring out a toy or puzzle to distract him. Kongs stuffed with peanut butter can calm your dog, while he can enjoy a yummy snack. Or you can stuff treats in a dog puzzle to help tire out his mind.
6. Consider a ThunderShirt.
Some owners swear by this product. The ThunderShirt works by applying gentle pressure to your dog (like a hug), making her feel calmer and more secure.
7. Have a treatment plan ready.
If fireworks and the loud noises are too much for your dog to handle, you may need to get an anti-anxiety medication. There are also alternative medicines out there that people swear by – including herbal drops, calming treats and even hemp products.
8. Let her be.
If she hides under a bed or in a closet, respect her space. Don’t force her to come out and socialize with people, or be near you, as it could trigger an aggressive reaction.
9. Be proactive.
In case your dog does ever wander off, make sure he has tags on his collars and is microchipped. Indeed, a study of 7,700 stray animals found that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9 percent of the time, whereas those with microchips were reunited with their owner 52.2 percent of the time.
10. Download a lost pet app.
If your dog does happen to escape or runs away, be prepared. Have a lost dog app on your phone with all her information already filled out and ready to go, or at least on hand. Some notable apps out there are ASPCA Pet Safety app and PetRescuers by HomeAgain.