Fireworks are here!
My Kiddos are super excited because it’s firework season, and in Utah that means the ENTIRE month of July is full of loud smoky nights. Which also means that our dog is up, pacing around, following me in a panic from room to room, trying to hide underneath me. While my heart goes out to my aging companion who is just simply terrified in his later age of the loud gun like sounds outside, there are a few things that I always get in order when we approach July, and I always make sure to discuss them with the whole family so everyone is on board.
Proper Identification- If you have a new puppy, this would be the time to make sure you have micro chipped your dog. A vet, or an animal service facility, to get contact information, can scan a microchip. It’s also really important that you keep a collar on your dog at all times, that has an up to date tag with your dogs name, and whatever contact information would be the most appropriate to get in touch with you if someone happens across your wandering dog. If you already have both of these items, you may just want to check the phone numbers listed to make sure they are still the best way to contact you.
DO NOT leave your dog outside- A scared dog is completely irrational, so leaving your dog outside for a lengthy amount of time, or unsupervised (when no one is home) is just a recipe for disaster. According to the ASPCA, every year 7.6 million companion animals enter the shelter, after the approximately 2.7 million that are euthanized (Leaving 4.9 million), only about 649,000 of those animals are reunited with their families! If they become startled, it really doesn’t take long to dig under, or hop over the fence, or even peel back chain link. If you’re not home, you can’t stop them from getting free, and in panic, dogs tend to run! Please bring your dogs and cats inside so you don’t chance that the noise may scare them into a frenzy, and possibly lose them!
Watch the doors- When you’re home, make sure you’re keeping an eye on the doors as they open and close. Dogs are tricky! If they are scared, and they want to get free and run, a lingering open doorway is their ticket to freedom. Make sure everyone in the house is aware of the dog, and they know to slip in and out of doorways. We constantly talk to the kids about making sure they are careful when they open the doors, and we kennel the dogs if we know someone will possibly be coming in and out of the house when we are gone during the day.
Kennel up!- If you’re leaving the house, or possibly holding a holiday party, it may be a good idea to kennel your dogs. If you don’t kennel, you may have success putting their dog in a bathroom, or a hallway that’s blocked off by a baby gate to confine them to a safe area. Again, dogs tend to do weird things when they are scared, so keeping them away from valuable or unsafe items so they don’t ingest, or destroy anything is beneficial to everyone. I generally make sure the kids are picking up shoes, and toys from the area, just in case the stress prompts an irregular stress chewing session!
Leave your dog home- I know all too well how much you want to take your buddy with you and the kids to enjoy the festivities. But fireworks are already so loud at home, let alone sitting in a giant field with strangers in the dark, with bright flashing lights and crazy noises. You don’t want to run the risk of your terrified dog backing out of their collar and taking off.
Stay on leash!– I know a lot of us like to do some off leash work, or visit areas that the dogs are allowed to run free. This time of year, as the sun goes down (for the most part) you will start to hear crackling pretty quickly. If for some reason you have to take the dogs outside in an unfenced in area, like for potty breaks in apartments for example, make sure you check your collar BEFORE you open the door, and leash up! This would probably be a good time to pull out a good old no slip collar to ensure that they can’t slink out of their collar in case of a startle!
Medication– Some dogs really just need a little extra help. If you feel like your dog needs something more, make an appointment BEFORE the fireworks get crazy with your Vet and discuss other options.
This year, when your out celebrating your best option is to just create a safe, calm area, in the quietest part of the house for your furry pal to hang out until the noise is over. I really like to cover all of this with Aiden, and his little neighborhood buddies that come in and out of the house all the time so they can understand how important it is. Letting him know about how important it is to keep the dogs close and supervised, makes him an awesome helper!