Fourth of July and Anxiety in dogs

It is hard to believe, but this year is half over at the end of today. The months just seem to fly by anymore and the older I get the faster they peal off the calendar.

Tomorrow starts the month of July and with that the celebration of Independence Day is only 4 days away. As is always the case, there will be a lot of celebrating and noise making with the rumble of fireworks. We as humans enjoy the sights and sounds of these celebrations but our pets, especially dogs, don’t have the same appreciation as we do. Most of the dogs that I am currently around, mine and my friends, are fearful of the noise caused by fireworks which can cause them to suffer some anxiety. It is our responsibility as pet owners to do as much as we can to suppress as much of that anxiety as possible.

Not all dogs react to different types of noises the same way. In our case we have a Border Collie who will sit outside in the rain during a loud thunderstorm without flinching. Drop a firecracker in the yard and she will run like a scared rabbit! I have heard that other dogs are just the opposite and I’m sure that some dogs hate all loud popping sounds. I’m also sure that there are some macho dogs that aren’t afraid of any noises. You just need to know your dog and do what is best for them.

A number of years ago we were camping on a deer lease in Junction, Texas with some other couples. We all had our campers and two of the couples had their dogs with them. Someone had brought some fireworks to the camp. We had been talking about the fireworks and the issue of the dogs being afraid of the popping noises. One evening we decided to pop some of the fireworks and thought that both dogs had been put inside. As luck would have it, the older dog was outside. When the first firecracker went off the dog took off. It was dark and the dog was black. We searched for a long time but couldn’t find the dog. She had gone somewhere to hide and later that evening she found her way back.

In the case mentioned above, the situation could have been different if the dog hadn’t been smart enough to find her way back. So, the point is, during these times of celebration be aware of your dogs behavior. There are some things that you can do to relieve the anxiety.
1. It is safer to keep a pet at home during Fourth of July celebrations rather than taking them to a party with you. Keep the pet in the house rather than in the yard so that it will not be tempted to follow you.
2. Don’t thake pets to public Independence Day celebrations where there are going to be fireworks.
3. Never leave your pet outdoors unattended, even in a fenced yard or on chains. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn’t leave their yards may escape and become lost or become entangled in their chains, risking injury or death.
4. Once the fireworks start, keep your pet in a safe room where it can feel comfortable. If it is crate trained, put them in the crate and place a blanket over the crate to make the place feel more secure.
5. Block outside sights and sounds by lowering the blind or closing the curtains and turning on the television. If you have a sophisticated pet, play some classical music to calm them down. In my case I’d play some Country and Western music since that’s all she hears.

Another good suggestion is to make sure that your dog has a current tag on the collar in case they do get scared and manage to run away. A better way is to have a micro chip in your dog, as we do. Collars and tags can come off.

Border Collie

Missy in our back yard


Border Collie on ATV

Missy and Brad on the ATV




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