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Dog Safety in July

By Alyssa Otis, GDMI/Outreach Specialist

As Independence Day draws near, so does the anticipation of fireworks lighting up the night sky. It’s important to remember the impact it can have on our pets.

This season can be stressful for some of our dogs, putting them at risk of hurting themselves or running away. It’s important to note that every dog is different, some dogs might display only mild signs of anxiety, while others may show extreme fear responses.

Alternative to fireworks

Instead of loud and unexpected fireworks, opt in for activities such as:

  • Glow Sticks – make glow stick figures and funny dances, adorn yourself with glow stick necklaces for a luminous celebration or crack a few on and wave them around to make cool lighting effects.
  • Glow in the dark paint – Explore your artistic side with glow-in-the-dark masterpieces or try out fun face and body painting.
  • Bubbles – Delight both pets and people with an enchanting bubble show using an extra-large wand or bubble gun.
  • Sparklers – So they’re technically still fireworks, but sparklers are way less noisy and chaotic. Just remember to handle them safely and keep an eye on your pets keeping these away from them when lit.

Firework safety for dogs

Let’s face it, while we may choose to practice pet friendly celebrations in our own backyard, fireworks are still going to be around especially near the holiday. A little preparation can go a long way, below are ways to encourage safety of your beloved pet or Leader Dog:

  1. Keep your dog inside. Dogs are sensitive to loud noises and smells, and the bursts that come from fireworks can be upsetting and disorienting to them. Let them stay home with the TV or radio playing to cover the noise or put them in a quiet place if one is available. Keep the blinds or curtains closed to avoid visual stimulation.
  2. Keep your dog distracted. Toys and treats can help take your dog’s mind off what’s happening outside. If you’re at home, get out your dog’s favorite toy and let them focus on that. If you’re going to be out celebrating the holiday, prepare a frozen KONG or other treat for your dog to enjoy.
  3. Talk to your vet. If your dog is severely upset by noises like fireworks, your vet may be able to suggest a medication or technique that can help with the worst of your dog’s fears.
  4. Make sure your dog’s ID is up to date. In the U.S., more pets run away on the 4th of July than any other day. The last thing you want is for your dog to be lost with no sure way of being reunited. Check that your dog’s collar and tag are on. If your dog isn’t microchipped, consider talking to your vet about that process.
  5. Practice safety. If you’re planning to set off smaller fireworks near where you live, make sure all debris is picked up and your pets are safely contained away from the fireworks. They may try to eat or sniff the fireworks and could easily hurt themselves.

We hope you continue to enjoy the summer and the celebrations of July. Our Leader Dogs and pets hold so much of our hearts, we hope you consider these recommendations to help our furry companions during a stressful time.