As we celebrate Independence Day, it is important to remember that it is very common for dogs to be frightened of fireworks and other loud noises and this can cause them great distress. Signs of stress include trembling, shaking, pacing, panting, destructive behavior, whining, barking, vomiting, panting and attempts to escape.
Even if your dog has been fine with fireworks and loud noises in the past, dogs can still develop fears of this later in life and it can only take one incident. My dog Lucy is almost 8 years old and her fear of lightning and thunder has progressed to a point that she has to take medication. In her younger years, she coped fine in these situations.
Following are some tips to keep your pet safe this Fourth of July:
Make sure your dog has a good walk and lots of potty breaks earlier in the day. If he is nervous, he will likely avoid going outside once the celebrations have started.
Keep your dog indoors after dark when the fireworks start, and if he must go outside, supervise him at all times as he may attempt to escape if a loud noise takes him by surprise.
Make sure your dog is wearing a collar and ID tag with current information in case he does escape.
Block out the noise by turning on the television or radio and keeping doors and windows shut.
If your dog has to be left alone during the festivities, make sure he is left in a safe, dog-proofed area. Do not be surprised if he has been destructive or has a potty accident while you are away, as this may be his way of coping with the stress.
Create a safe hiding place within your home, since some dogs just want to withdraw and hide when frightened.
Distract your pet with a good chew toy or treat. Having something to do can help relieve stress.
In severe cases of fear, seek advice from your vet. As a last resort, your vet may prescribe medication to help.
Make this year’s Fourth of July celebrations an enjoyable time for all. Knowing that your pets are safe and secure will allow you to enjoy the festivities all the more.
YAPPY HOUR: LA/SPCA will receive $1 for every margarita or sangria purchased during Yappy Hour on the Patio from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, July 6, at Felipe’s Mid-City, 411-1 N. Carrollton Ave. Leashed pets and their owners will relax outside, with doggie treats for the pooches and drink specials for the owners. For information, call (504) 288-8226 or visit felipesneworleans.com.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. In Jefferson Parish, send to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, and in St. Bernard Parish, send to email@example.com.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at arno. firstname.lastname@example.org, call (504) 571-1900 or visit www.animalrescueneworleans.org.