Home > Gemini's Blog > Dogs and July Fourth fireworks don’t mix

by: Susan Stokes

Dogs and July Fourth fireworks don’t mix

Posted by SusanStokes on July 4, 2012

Protect your pooch from July Fourth festivities…

Did you know that there is a 30% increase in lost pets during the time frame of July 4 through July 6 each year?  There is a reason for this.  Notice how your dog reacts to noises around him. Many dogs get quite excited over the slightest sound and fearful during thunder storms.  July Fourth fireworks can push your pooch over the edge.  You’ll find him running for cover when you are having the time of your life enjoying all the July Fourth activities.

In talking with a close friend and neighbor, Tom Libucki had this to say:

"We took our six-month old puppy, Cole, for a walk yesterday evening. Cole was terrified when a firework went off. First, he tried to get us to carry him back home. Then he pulled me on his leash at a running pace like a sled dog. I had to keep up with him. He knew every turn down each street right back to his front door. He didn't even cut across the lawns. Cole ran right up the street and a made a left turn into the driveway."

Cole was a lucky dog since he carried his owner safely back home on his leash. Other dogs break free and run away. They may dig under or climb over gates and fences, become confused and eventually are lost and in danger.

Cole.jpg Caption: Cole is lucky pup!

There is another story of the dog who attended a house party in Leonia, New Jersey, only to make a break for it and try to go home back over the George Washington Bridge. Talk about a lucky dog! Read full story here.

Following is what you can do to help your dog through the July Fourth holiday.  These tips are from the San Diego Humane Society and the SPCA:

Create a safe place: Try to create a safe place for your dog to go to when he hears the noises that frighten him. Notice where he goes, or tries to go, when he’s frightened, and give him access to that place. Feed him in that location and associate other "good things" happening to him there. He must be able to come and go from this location freely.

Distract your dog: This method works best when your dog is just beginning to get anxious. Encourage him to engage in any activity that captures his attention and distracts him from behaving fearfully.

Behavior Modification: The appropriate techniques are called “counter-conditioning” and “desensitization.” This means to condition or teach your dog to respond in non-fearful ways to sounds and other stimuli that previously frightened him. This must be done gradually.

Consult your veterinarian: Medication may be available which can make your dog less anxious for short time periods. Your veterinarian is the only person who is licensed and qualified to prescribe medication for your dog. Don’t attempt to give your dog any over-the-counter or prescription medication as drugs can be fatal to your dog.

Happy Fourth of July everyone!  And keep your dog safe!

Susan, Taurus and Gemini




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