The Forth of July is about celebration and we Americans go all out. Bounties of food and fireworks mean people will definitely be enjoying themselves this holiday weekend. But that fun may come at an expense to those furry companions that do not respond well to the loud and sudden noises of spectator explosives. Whether it’s backyard fun or major city displays, your pooch may not respond well. This spells a rough time for dogs and sometimes results in runaway situations and lost loved ones.
So, what is going on?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand what your dog is experiencing. Just as you might face anxiety before a big meeting or during a move, your dog is facing anxiety over the loud noises. At least 40 percent of dogs experience noise anxiety, typically from fireworks and thunder. The fifth of July is reportedly one of the busiest days for animal shelters that take in lost pets. Much like a combat veteran, the noise can cause a large amount of stress on your pet who likely had their own traumatic experience with loud noises.
So, what signs should I look for?
Your dog will demonstrate typical fear behavior, such as panting, a tucked tail or hind section, cowering, scratching at doorways, and possibly urinating or defecating in the house. Your dog may run to you for comfort or they may run to a small space that make sthem feel comfortable.
So, what can you do?
If at all possible the best way to protect your dog is to keep them away from the loud noises. Talk to your vet about desensitization programs and anti-anxiety medications that can alleviate the situation. Some pet owners also turn to compression garments that give the animals a sense of comfort.
It may help to drown out the sounds with more soothing sounds or to engage them in activity that distracts them from the situation.
Remember to make sure your dog is wearing a collar with proper identification and current contact information. It is also recommended to protect your dog with a microchip what vets and animal shelters will use to identify and return your beloved pet.