Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Bang! Boom! Bam! Protecting Your Dog over the July 4th Weekend

It’s  a documented fact that the worst time at animal shelters are around the 4th of July holidays. Red Door volunteers know from experience: a few years ago, five of them were trying to catch a frightened, runaway dog galloping through a city alley just after a nearby park’s fireworks display.

We caught that dog and got it returned to its proper home, but there are easier ways to protect your resident canine.

·         Be proactive. If you know there will be fireworks in your neighborhood, make sure your dog gets lots of exercise earlier that day.

·         Be sure your dog is wearing a secure collar and ID. When panicked, dogs can make like Houdini and disappear.

·         Never take your dog [or any pet] to a fireworks display. And don’t keep any pet outside during the July 4th holiday.

·        Provide white noise distractions: keep the air conditioning on and the windows shut. Turn on the TV or radio or put some soothing music {not the 1812 Overture!] n the stereo. Fans or sound machines also help mask  outside noises.

·          Keep the curtains drawn and the blinds shut. Dogs tend to feel more comfortable during loud noises if the outside world is shut out as much as possible.

·          Try a Thunder Shirt or make a simple one at home with an old T shirt fitted snugly around the dog.

·          Let your dog hang out in a safe space. If he likes his crate, that’s a good option.  Some dogs like bathrooms [maybe it’s the lack of windows?]. Wherever your dog feels more relaxed—even if it’s under the bed- let him stay there. Provide some fun chew toys or Kongs to help distract Fido.

·          Act confident around your dog and don’t react to the Bang! Boom! Bam! outside.

Remember, your dog wants you to be the Alpha—particularly when the  firecrackers start going off.