Popping in to wish you and all of the 4-legged friends in your life a safe, fun and happy 4th of July. It feels so good to be out and about doing normal things again, doesn’t it?
And while we humans may ooh and ahh over a colorful fireworks display, the fur-folks we share our homes with may not be quite as enthusiastic about the whole boisterous affair.
Here’s some tips to get them through this weekend:
1. The first one is obvious. Leave your pup at home if you plan to attend a fireworks celebration. While we love having our constant companions constantly at our side, a fireworks display is no place for your pet. From large crowds and unfamiliar environments to a whole lot of noise and chaos, your best bud will always be safer and more content at home in familiar surroundings.
2. Turn on the TV or radio, especially if you plan to leave them alone. Keep indoor-outdoor kitties safely tucked away for the weekend too!
3. Plan for some good quality exercise time during the day so they’ll be more likely to want to nap in the evening. A tired dog is a worry-free dog.
4. Provide a safe space in your home. Whether it’s a crate or a quiet corner complete with dog bed, give them a place to feel secure. Heck, make a doggy hut with a blanket fort under the dining room table if needed. Be sure to close windows and window coverings to further muffle outside sounds.
5. Give ’em some goodies! I routinely freeze tasty chews and treats for my dogs. Why? Mostly because it’s darn HOT outside and a frozen treat is refreshing for all of us. It also keeps them busier, longer.
Chewy bones, dental chews, filled and frozen Kong toys or homemade doggy suet cakes are among the favorites in my house. Don’t have those handy? Pick up some doggy ice cream from your local grocer’s freezer, or go old school and bust out the ice cube tray. Fill sections with peanut butter (Don’t use the sugar-free kind with Xylitol! It’s toxic to dogs.), canned dog food or soup stock and a nice big biscuit sticking out of the top. *Bonus points for using your own canine culinary imagination.*
6. Be sure to use a secure collar and leash if your pet needs to relieve him or herself during the commotion. It’s easy for most dogs to back out of their collars if frightened. Consider a Martingale-style collar or slip lead if you need to take them outside and hang on tight to the leash!
7. Safeguard your pet in case the unthinkable happens and they manage to escape. Make sure they’re wearing up-to-date tags and be sure their microchip contact information is correct.
8. Keep your anxiety in check. For those with noise-sensitive pets, we humans tend to get nervous when we know there’s a trigger event coming. Your pet likely knows you better than you know yourself and they’ll feed off of your anxiousness. Plan a game of “Find It” with favorite toys or treats to keep all of you busy. Take care not to reassure or pet them during an anxious phase or they may take it as positive reinforcement that the world really is coming to an end. Act as if it’s no big deal as best as you can.
9. If all else fails, discuss anxiety reducing medications with your veterinarian.
10. Give your pet a hug. Just because.