Did you know that more pets are lost on July 4th than any other day of the year?
According to PRNewswire, animal control officers report a 30% increase in lost pets nationwide between the dates of July 4th and 6th.
Independence day can be such an amazing time, full of barbecues, family, food, and – you guessed it – fireworks.
Just like people, many dogs are stressed out and scared by fireworks.
But, fireworks aren’t the only thing that could make your dog uncomfortable on the 4th.
Keep reading to find out how to keep your best friend calm, cool, and collected on this Independence Day.
Know your Dog
Knowing your dog as an individual is at the foundation of keeping your dog comfortable.
Does your dog have separation anxiety? How do they do with loud noises? What about crowds?
Most importantly for our purposes, how have they behaved in previous years on July 4th?
If this is your first Independence day with your dog, you should be extra prepared since you’re not sure how they may react.
Talk to Your Vet
If your dog is a recent addition to the family, or you know your dog is likely to be stressed or worse on the 4th, you should consult your vet.
We recommend going to your vet first thing whenever you have something troubling you concerning your dog.
Your vet may give you suggestions on training exercises, safety precautions, and short-term medication for anxiety relief.
Prepare Your Pup
If you don’t have your dog microchipped, and they don’t wear identification tags, you should get them set up with both of these ASAP.
A Microchip and tags are essentials for any dog, any time of the year.
If you don’t already have a calming and comfy space for your dog in your house, you should make them one.
Set aside a quiet corner of the house for them, put a bed there and maybe even some blankets if they like that.
If they are crate trained, that’s even better!
Lastly, if your vet did prescribe your dog a medication, follow your vet’s instructions.
If they recommend giving your dog the meds a few days in advance in smaller doses to prep them, then make sure you follow through!
Wear Them Out!
Have you ever been so tired, you really had no choice but to relax?
Dog’s energy works in a similar way.
The more tired they are, the less likely they are to be so alert that they become anxious.
So, get your dog some good exercise, not just the day before the 4th, but on the days leading up to it as well.
Of course, be sure to not over exercise them, and ensure that they stay hydrated while they play.
You don’t have to just take them for a walk either.
What To Do on the Actual Day
If you’re stressed, your pup will also feel stressed.
We know it’s hard to not be stressed on a busy day, especially if you’re worried about your dog being comfortable.
But, your dog will feel most comfortable if they can look to you, their calm human, for security and comfort.
It’s okay if you give them a little extra play time to get some exercise out, but try not to deviate from the norm too much.
Leave Them At Home and Inside
It’s best to not bring your pup to the cookout, and especially not to the fireworks show.
There are just too many things that could go wrong with so many people around, and lots of food and drinks that could be toxic to them.
Additionally, you should under no circumstances leave your dog unsupervised outside, whether you have a fence or not.
If your dog gets over excited, they may jump over a physical fence or run through an electric one.
Make sure the space you’ve prepared for them is as it usually is.
Whether it’s their crate or a bed in a room, you want to make sure that your dog has access to their safe space.
If they are crate trained and you regularly keep them there, put them in their crate.
If they choose to get comfortable somewhere else or even hide, let them be.
If your vet prescribed them a medication, make sure you give it to them at the right time in the correct dose.
You can also try a thunder jacket to keep them comfortable, just make sure you test it out before the day.
Give Them Distractions
Whether you have to leave your dog, or you can’t be at their side the whole time, you should have a few things to give them to occupy their time.
One of the best things you can do to keep your dog calm is to divert their attention away from anything that may make them anxious.
Try using a white noise machine or a fan to drown out the noise of fireworks or people outside.
Fill them up a Kong toy and freeze it to keep them occupied with a tasty treat.
Keep an Eye on Them
While trying your best not to hover, keep an eye on your pup.
If you can see them starting to get amped up, try and give them a treat or distraction toy before they reach peak activation.
If they want some snuggles, give them a snug!
In the case that you won’t be home, you can keep an eye on them virtually with a live camera.
Enjoy the Holiday
Depending on your situation, it might be hard to focus on your own enjoyment.
But, it’s important that we give both ourselves and our dogs some room for fun.
It certainly is possible to enjoy the 4th of July while also making sure your dog is safe and comfortable!
Following these tips should give you a little room to breathe and enjoy the day, all while making sure your canine companion is okay.