Fido and Fireworks...

Posted by Pia

You've heard me say it before... but this is a reminder worth repeating, and passing on to fellow animal lovers...
While July 4th is about the INdependence or our country, we must not forget that our fur kids are especially vulnerable and DEpendent on us humans to keep them safe during patriotic celebrations!

1 of 4

1 "I pledge a-flea-gents... the Wag of the United States of America, and to the republic of loyal shelter pets for which it stands....

2 the Wag of the United States of America, and to the republic of loyal shelter pets for which it stands....

one Nation under Dog... 
 indivisible...and adoptable...

3 one Nation under Dog... indivisible...and adoptable...

...with liberty and justice for all...
Yup...That part is my favorite...
the part about it being for us all!

4 ...with liberty and justice for all... Yup...That part is my favorite... the part about it being for us all!

All I have to say is, don't get me started about fireworks....

Imagine suddenly hearing them and having no idea what they are... now add flashes of light that seem much like lightening and the occasional oohs, ahhhs and screams of humans as they go off. Scary!

Additionally, even though fireworks are illegal in many places, there are invariably plenty of neighborhood patriots still lighting them off at all hours for the days before and after the 4th. Naturally, these random sounds spook even the most secure critter to run for cover...myself included.

Given that canine hearing is far more sensitive than humans, exposure to fireworks is not only far from festive, but may even be painful to pooches. A dog's ears are shaped in such a way that they amplify sound. They also hear noise over a greater distance and at a wider frequency range than humans do.

Statistics reveal that more dogs, go missing over the 4th of July than any other US holiday. Many of them end up in shelters with no identification connecting them to their humans. Spooked dogs also tend do run farther, as the noise continues, than they might otherwise, which makes the chance of their safe return even less likely. This is tragic and preventable.

Thankfully, such risks can be greatly reduced with some simple preparation. As their 'parents,' we must keep our 'fur kids' safe and secure before and during the holiday.

1. I can not overstate the importance of keeping updated tags on all companion animals. Microchipping is also important, but a current, readable tag is critical. Providing a good Samaritan or local shelter with a simple way to reunite you with your loved one is the safest way to get him back. Without a tag, the journey home is far more complicated -- and therefore less likely.
Our nations shelters are filled with lost family pets who no one anticipated would ever get lost.

*For cats in particular it is important that a tag be on a 'quick-release' type collar for safety. Most pet supply stores will know what you are asking for if you request this.
Even though my cats are indoors only, I still keep a tag on each of them that has my cell phone number and the words, "If I am out, I am lost."

2. Many people travel over the holidays, leaving furry family with a neighbor, petsitter or friend- this is often unfamiliar and is frequently when animals escape or get lost. While it is critical to always have current tags, you might also consider getting a tag that includes your pet sitter's name and number if you are going to be unreachable while away.

3. Random fireworks can be heard everywhere on and around July 4th. It is essential that even the most obedient animals be secured in an area (preferably indoors) that does not allow them to escape. Special precautions should be taken to avoid leaving a companion animal unattended in a yard. It is also best they not be taken anywhere without a secure leash.

4. Close shades and curtains to both muffle sounds and conceal flashes of light. Play relaxing music (there is some made specifically for companion animals), and it can't hurt to add calming scents like lavender- but be sure they are out of reach so nervous critters don't ingest them.

5. Try to engage your animal's attention with toys, games or perhaps one of those hard rubber chew toys you can fill with peanut butter- I like to call this 'mission peanut butter' as it clearly becomes their mission to get every last lick out of that pesky toy!

6. If possible, stay home with your companion animals during any local fireworks events-and ideally over the entire holiday weekend.

7. Special compression shirts made to reduce canine stress during thunderstorms can be a great help as well- I use one with our biggest fur baby and it seems to be very effective.

While a holiday weekend may be festive for humans, it is always important to stop and consider how our companion animals perceive such events. Sudden and unfamiliar sounds shake their sense of security and illicit territorial reactions that might otherwise be uncommon for that particular animal to exhibit.

Our furry friends are naturally protective and it's up to us to shield them from any added stressors that might put them in danger.

While I certainly wish you all a Happy 4th- My deeper wish is that it is a safe one for you, your fur kids and all the other living creatures with whom we share this great land!
Have a happy and safe 4th!

In kinship,
Dr. Pia Salk

Comments (7)

  • Great advice and instruction Dr. Pia. We depend on our pack leaders for safety and that is YOU the owners. Don't let the members of your pack down!
    Happy 4th to all the Glue Squad and stay safe!
    Dixie Boy

  • Hi Dr. Pia and Minnow, My Mom and I certainly thank you for giving us this great blog about how to protect all of us animals during the 4th of July and my Mom is perfect always protecting me from any harmful times! Mom enjoyed reading all of your great information and we even saw a great program on TV on how to protect all animals on the 4th of July! So far it's been very quiet with no banging and hopefully won't happen until later tonight and we will be inside our home and hopefully won't hear the awful noises! I love seeing these photos of beautiful Minnow again today and her cute face looks a lot like mine! With my paws crossed, I wish you a happy 4th of July and have a great weekend! Best wishes to all of our Glue Squad friends and hope you stay safe, also! Love Dudley Do Right XOXOXO+

  • Hello Minnow and Dr. Pia,
    Good advice on these boomers and scarey things for this holiday. I, the Ruby Gem, unfortunately misunderstood what this Independence Day was all about. Thought it meant my independence and Dad and Weston were loading tools for working on his house and whammo, I bolted. Had a car been coming that would have been it. I had been doing so good on this sit/stay thing, but the thought of not being with the guys was upsetting. Mom was in the bathroom or she would have had a heart attack. I did return when Dad called. I have had so much to work on and have really been trying, but Mom says my name is mud today and I just better relax. Thank goodness for the fireworks ban most everywhere here, or I would be scaredy dog Ruby. I am in time out thinking, but I escaped to the computer room. Have a GEM of a 4th of July all.
    Love and licks,

  • Good morning (Friday) Dr Pia and my sweetie Minnow,
    Well, I guess somebody in our neighborhood grew up and moved away. We were very quiet compared to last year. The city fireworks are far enough away that they don't bother me.
    It's back to work today and then the weekend. I get a bath and my toenails clipped tomorrow. I'll be good, I promise.
    Have a great weekend everybody.
    Your pal,

  • A belated thank you to Dr Pia and Minnow!
    We haven't had any fireworks in our neighborhood so far. The city had fireworks Wednesday night, I, Brutus, survived in the basement. Of course Max was cool as a cucumber.
    Ruby, glad a car wasn't coming when you bolted! Max and I both have ran before...well, I run, Max roams. Mom and Dad were very scared and yes, we were in time-out for a while. Sometimes I just fell the need for speed! Of course at my age, once the romp is over my joints start to ache. Ah to be young again.
    Gotta go, Mom and Dad are both a work and I see their big bed just sitting there, empty. Time for a snooze. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

    Brutus and Max

  • Oh Dr. Pia
    I certainly agree with your advice!
    Minnow is so cute...give a Kiss for me and Kitty.

    I was in Milwaukee for 4 days at my daughters'...her rag-doll cat got out side, it freaked us out because he did not have his tags on, and is an inside cat...but he came up to us right a way, he was scared from the firecrackers.
    Hubby said Kitty did not come home on the 4th, but showed up the next day, guess she was hunkered down somewhere.
    Hope everyone had a nice 4th, I had the BEST ever with my youngest on one time.... ;-)

    Hugs to all
    hope everyone had a safe 4th of July!
    delia & Kitty =^. .^=

  • What happend to my comment?? ;-(
    Minnow you are too cute!
    I can't remember what I wrote, but do know your advice for the dogs on the 4th was great!
    Hope everyone had a good time

    Kisses to Minnow from
    Kitty =^. .^=
    and delia

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