For most of us, the upcoming 4th of July weekend will be full of fun and relaxation. We’ll spend our time at a barbecue or even by the pool. But for your puppies, the 4th of July is not a celebration of America’s birthday. For them, it’s a war-zone! The loud noise and bright lights can set off a fight or flight response. And since there’s nothing to fight, they will take flight!
The Danger for Dogs
Did you know that the busiest time of the year for animal shelters is on July 5? You see, many dogs, frightened by the fireworks, will do everything they can to escape. We’ve heard stories of dogs who hid in places so tight they got stuck, who were so desperate to run away they chewed off door handles, crashed through windows or even raced into traffic – all in an attempt to flee what is to them an inexplicable series of explosions and flashing lights. And while some reactions may not be as extreme, dogs can still cower, pace, whine and even defecate indoors.
What Can You Do?
There are a couple of things you can do to mitigate the mayhem. Once the fireworks start, you can play some loud music or leave the television on to try and drown some of the noise outside. You can try and associate the loud noises with some positive reinforcement – give your dog treats or cuddles to help ease their anxiety. This will show them that the loud environment is a safe one and not a threat. There are also swaddling jackets – otherwise known as “Thunder Shirts” – that provide the same comforting effect during thunderstorms. We carry these in our store at the Town Square and in our online store, click here!
Do your best to avoid leaving your pet unsupervised outside – even if it’s a fenced in yard. The loud pops and bangs of fireworks can cause your dog to jump or dig under the fence to try and escape. The same goes for leaving them tied up – there is a strangling danger as they try to break themselves free.
What About Sedatives?
We’ve found differing opinions from veterinarians on this subject. While some may prescribe a sedative like acepromazine to solve the problem, others warn that it is just a stopgap measure. It will help you – and your pet – overcome the immediate crisis, but the underlying fear still remains. A drug like acepromazine will sedate a dog, but it can still see and hear what’s going on – akin to having a nightmare from which you can’t wake up from! There is also Prozac, but that takes about four to six weeks to become effective.
However, there is a new drug on the market that works differently from a sedative. It’s called Sileo and instead of putting your dog to sleep, it reduces anxiety and inhibits the fear response. The company, Orion, has already tested it on hundreds of dogs during New Year’s Eve fireworks and has found promising results: three quarters of owners declared that their pets were unperturbed by the noise and light display. And the effects of the drug lasts for several hours!
Protect Our Pets
The upcoming festivities should be full of joy and not the panic of searching for your lost dog. We don’t want to frighten anybody – but we hope you can take the necessary precautions.
Be sure to share this with your friends and family and help protect our pets!