Many pet owners approach the annual Fourth of July celebrations with dread. Between the booming sounds and bright flashes of fireworks, the sensory overload on our furry friends is profound. Dogs are not allowed at the waterfront, but even those at home, miles away from the festivities, can suffer greatly.
Here are some precautions you can take, courtesy Tiffani Hill, Shelter Director of DAWG, Dog Adoption and Welfare Group, exclusive to Santa Barbara View.
- *As soon as the celebrating starts, bring pets who have access to outside indoors and keep them inside for the night. Shelters do see an increase in animals who, in a panic, escape their yards and outdoor parties. Of course, never use any firework-type devices near your pets (or your young children).
- *Create diversions for your pets, like turning on soothing music or the TV.
- *Give your dog something else to think about by giving him or her a special treat, such as a Kong filled with peanut butter or a large nylabone. Veterinarians recommend against giving dogs rawhide, as this can be a choke hazard.
- *For dogs who are feeling anxious (panting, running around, hiding under the bed), you can try this comforting technique: take one of your large t-shirts, preferably one with your smell on it, and put it on your dog (front legs through the arm holes). Loosely gather the shirt around your dog’s stomach and tie it in a knot in the back. This gives your dog the feeling of being held, which can be soothing to them. This works during thunder storms and loud parties, too.
- *For dogs or cats who you have seen become extremely anxious in the past, contact your veterinarian in advance and ask for a prescription sedative that you can give for the evening.