Independence Day Safety!!

I remember going to see the big Independence Day parade and fireworks celebration held by our town when I was a kid.  It was such an exciting highlight in the middle of summer, and it was an annual tradition I always  enjoyed.

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Photo Credit: Will Montague Flickr Creative Commons
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Photo Credit: Oakley Originals Flickr Creative Commons

Our dogs don’t share that same enthusiasm or wonder for those loud exploding bits of bright light.  Did you know that the busiest day in any animal shelter is July 5th?  That’s because our Independence Day celebrations are often terrifying to dogs. Dogs who are frantic don’t act in ways that you’d expect.  If your dog escapes your house or yard, there’s never a guarantee that you will get him back.  Your friendly dog may not come to a human if he’s terrified. Far too many dogs are hit by cars or end up being put to sleep because owners couldn’t be found.

Here are some tips to keep your dogs safe!

  • Be sure your dogs are microchipped and registered with the microchip company.
  • Be sure they are wearing good fitting collars or harnesses with an ID tag attached.  Scared dogs can back out of a collar or harness in record time, so be sure they are fitted properly and are snug!
  • Keep your dogs inside!!  Don’t leave them unattended in your yard.  When they hear fireworks, they may jump a fence or squeeze through a small opening that you don’t expect.  Remember, they’re frantic and terrified, so they may not react in a normal way that you would expect.
  • Walk them on a leash after dark to potty.  You may not see them in the dark if they escape your yard.
  • If you have a dog with sound sensitivity, a thundershirt might help relieve some of their stress.
  • Provide them with a safe confinement area inside your home, such as a crate or small bathroom.  Often, pets will want to hide, so allowing them to get under a bed, or inside a darkened crate can really help them feel safe.
  • Make sure that you exercise them during the day, to minimize being outside at dusk or later.
  • If you’re going out for the evening, be sure you leave a TV or radio on for your dog.  Turn the volume up loud so that it will help mask some of the noise coming from outside.  Be sure to close drapes and blinds so that your dog can’t see the flashes of light in the night sky.
  • Leave your dogs at home, safely inside if you’re going to picnics or celebrations.  Your dogs won’t enjoy them nearly as much as you will.
  • Remember that neighbors often celebrate for several days after the 4th, so be vigilant for a few days before and after Independence Day.
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