The 4th of July, the celebration of the birth of our nation, is a day of good food, fun, celebrating with friends and family, and fireworks. But for some of our pets, it can be a day of anxiety. Pets experience the world through their senses and those senses – smell, vision, and hearing- are overloaded. It is a natural instinct for pets to be afraid of loud noises as a survival instinct, particularly since pet’s hearing is much more sensitive than humans. The loud noises of fireworks can trigger your pet’s nervous system to make them anxious and afraid. As a result of this natural survival instinct, dogs and cats run away on the Fourth of July more than any other day of the year. There are some important things to remember about 4th of July safety your pet.
Rockets’ Red Glare…May Make Your Pet Scared
Below are some tips to help keep your pet calm during this stressful time.
Safe Comfortable Place
It’s best to leave pets safely indoors, preferably with a radio or TV on at normal volume to dampen jarring noises. Pets that are usually kept outdoors should be brought inside as an extra measure of safety. If you are worried or know your pet reacts negatively to fireworks try to arrange to have your pet in a place where there won’t be fireworks and they feel comfortable – a friend or relative’s house, boarding facility or doggie day care. If you cannot take your pet to a place away from fireworks, find a place where your pet feels comfortable. For dogs that are crated, their crate is their safe place and will help with anxiety. Make sure to leave them with a few treats and/or a favorite toy to keep them happy and occupied. For cats and dogs that are not crated, a small room where they can not injure themselves or cause destruction is the best choice. For more information about what to look for in a boarding facility – check out this link.
If you are going to be with your dog during the fireworks, sending the calming message that there is nothing to worry about will also help them to relax. Remember, though, while humans communicate with words, dogs communicate with their bodies, and will look to you for clues on how they should behave. If you’re not making a big deal or showing excitement about the fireworks, then he will learn to be less concerned as well. Some owners find it helps to take their dog for a long walk to tire them out prior to fireworks and put them in a calm state.
Make sure your pet is wearing proper identification in case they run away. This way if they are found they can be easily returned to you.
If you have found that your pet does not respond well to fireworks, and the above tips do not help, sedation may be necessary. Sedative medication requires a visit with one of our veterinarians to find the proper medication to help relieve the anxiety associated with fireworks. It is important to plan a few weeks in advance so you can be prepared by the Fourth of July. Before giving sedative medication try to bring your pet to a calm state before giving the medication. A stressed out pet will react differently to sedative medication than a pet that is calm. If your pet is already experiencing a high anxiety level, her mental state will overrule the medication. Click here to request an appointment.
When Independence Day is over, your pet will be grateful to you for having made it a less stressful experience.
-Meghan Burnell, AS
To celebrate our puppies we decided to ask some of our colleagues about their puppies.
Q1: Why did you choose the breed of dog you have?
Q2: What was the hardest part of having this breed of dog as a puppy?
Dr. Hanlon and Diane, Business Manager, talk about Mary Grace “Gracie” and Gabriel (Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldogs):
Q1 – A: Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldogs fit our lifestyle. We definitely like Gracie and Gabriel’s size and short coat – it makes bathing an easy affair. They both have sweet and loving personalities.
Q2 – A: Gracie chewed on the couch but we were able to train her so it is no longer an issue. Gabriel is 8 months old and still likes to chew on laundry and a chair. But we are still training and are hopeful that it will result in it no longer being an issue.
Dr. Smith talks about Sampson (Chihuahua) and Riley (Mix Breed):
Q1 – A: My wife wanted a smaller dog so we got Sampson and we found Riley through my work, so she chose us.
Q2 – A: Sampson was very hard to house train. We still have occasional issues with accidents in the house. Riley chewed on everything.
Michelle, Marketing Manager, talks about Charlie (Dachshund):
Q1 – A: I was actually looking to adopt a dog and had seen a dachshund puppy during my search. I had not been familiar with this breed and began doing research on them. I was living in an apartment at the time so the size of the dog and energy level were big factors. As I was leaving for work one morning a neighbor was walking their dog, a dachshund, who followed me to my car and jumped up on me. I had never seen this neighbor or dog before and I began telling him that I was actually thinking of adopting a dachshund. He then told me that “Oscar” is looking for a forever home due to them downsizing from a house. He was a year old at the time. That evening “Oscar” came home with me and became Charlie. So in the end, I didn’t choose Charlie… he chose me! I now have two miniature dachshunds and I am without a doubt a huge fan of this breed. They have such unique personalities. They are very smart and very entertaining. They are also very protective and can become aggressive when they feel there is a threat to their owners or themselves.
Q2 – A: Charlie was a year old when I adopted him and was not yet fixed. So I feel like I still experienced the puppy stage and early training trials and tribulations. I crated him when I went to work. They say that a dog won’t go to the bathroom where they sleep. Well, this is not true. Charlie had many accidents in his crate throughout the day. He was also very protective and quite aggressive. I assumed that after he was fixed this would change and it didn’t. We eventually had to bring in a trainer. It seems like the things that were difficult when we first adopted Charlie tend to still come up every now and then.
Todd, Operations Director, talks about Logan (Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog):
Q1 – A: I have always like big dogs with short hair. Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldogs are very easy to house train but they need a firm owner. I have come to find out that he’s tough but very sensitive when he gets in trouble he pouts and sits in the corner by the window! Just because he is very big doesn’t mean he’s slow!! He’s very active and easily keeps up with us on 3-6 mile hikes.
Q2 – A: Mr. Logan ate everything from bath puffs, flip flops, jeans, a few pair of sneakers, and he also de stuffed a few pillows along the way.
Amanda, Team Leader, talks about Cammi and Bella (Pitbull Mixes):
Q1 – A: I chose Cammi and Bella because I love bigger breed dogs, and their faces were too adorable to pass up! We were planning on getting one dog when we looked, but I could not stand to separate the sisters. Luckily my husband agreed, and we went shopping for everything puppy pink!
Q2 – A: CHEW, CHEW, CHEW! It took them about 3 years to get out of their chewing everything habit. They were so easy to house break, they are super cuddly, and they love everyone.
Tiffany, Practice Manager, talks about Jake (Havanese mix) and Maggie (Chocolate Labrador Retriever):
Q1 – A: I chose Jake from an Arizona rescue and we have been inseparable ever since. My husband, Sal, chose Maggie because he had always wanted a bigger dog and loves labs.
Q2 – A: Maggie liked to chew on lots of things including my new shoes!! Jake was easy to train and has become an independent (not needy) kind of dog.
Alyssa, Team Leader, talks about Moses (Golden Retriever):
Q1 – A: We chose Moses because we wanted to get our first family dog, and had heard that Golden Retrievers were a very good breed. They are loyal, kind-hearted, good with kids and other animals, energetic, and lived long lives.
Q2 – A: The hardest part about having him as a puppy was the hair – he shed!!! Even up to this day, that is the ONLY thing that is dislikable about him. His house breaking went great! And he didn’t have the bad habit of chewing on everything. He was just “happy”.
Becca, Veterinary Technician, talks about fostering puppies (lots of different breeds):
Q1 – A: I choose to foster because every dog deserves a home. Dogs are surrendered for multiple reasons and many times it is not their fault. Often time dogs are surrendered due to behavioral issues that could have been helped with proper training and love. I hope to give the hopeless a forever home.
Q2 – A: I have run into every issue you can think of when it comes to puppies including chewing, house breaking, behavioral issues, etc. Being a foster parent, I am used to and like to help with every issue that may arise.
Remember there are many puppies looking for forever homes. Here are some things you can to do to help those less fortunate puppies:
– Adopt a puppy from your local shelter or pure breed rescue organization.
– Donate money, food and toys to your local shelter.
– Volunteer at your local shelter. You can offer to walk or play with a puppy, clean cages or anything else they need help with.
There are many ways to celebrate the bond between you and your pet not just today but every day. So gather up all the squeaky toys, throw on your walking shoes, or snuggle with your perfect pooch and celebrate National Puppy Day!!