Surviving 4th of July with our pets.
4th of July is a great celebration of American History. Complete with amazing food, fun traditions, and an amazing display of lights and sounds in the night sky. To us, it’s great. This Holiday is a chance to catch up with family and celebrate the slow days of summer. To dogs with a fear of loud noises or storms, this holiday could be frightening. 30% more dogs and cats go missing on this holiday due to running off during the fireworks display. 14% of these pets will be reunited; the majority of these pets will be lost to shelters or euthanized. There are ways to make this holiday bearable for our pets, but you need to start preparing them NOW for next week. So what can you do?
First Step: Making a “safe place” for your pets. Even if your pet has never showed signs of issues with loud noises or even the 4th of July holiday in the past, you should make a space for your pet to retreat if they feel scared this year. This should be a place removed from guests and human traffic as much as possible. Having a cool fan or pillow (Cooling pillows are GREAT for dogs) is helpful as dogs tend to have increased body heat when stressed. They can work their temperature up to fevers greater than 103 when anxious. Having a radio or white noise machine will help your pet focus on noises other than booming fireworks. This noise machine might need to be loud, but that continuous noise may be more acceptable to your dog than the unpredictable booming in the distance! Find what works for your pet. Making it dark is also a great choice. For my girl, we drape one of her thick blankets over the top of her crate so she cannot see the flashes of the fireworks. Feeding dinner in this safe space, the few days before the fireworks, will show them what a great place their new club house is.
Second step: The smells! Adding Lavender or another calming essential oil is VERY helpful. Starting NOW is also important. Not all oils work on every pet. Our favorite essential oils for stress are Stress Away, Peace and Calming, and Lavender for dogs. You need to find what works best for your dog.
We have samples of all three. Placing a cotton ball in two corners of your crate (on the same side) will give your pet a choice to stay in their safe place and use or not use the essential oil aid.
Third step: Stay normal.
Do get a little more exercise the mornings leading up the 4th. Get in the routine of early morning long walks and stay in from 4pm on. Make this an everyday routine starting today through the 4th. Once 4pm hits, do your best to limit the time your dog is outside. Fireworks can start anytime after “dinner” and if your pet is not in their safe space you are inviting them have a problem!
Fourth step: Check your information!
This is the easiest. If your pet has a microchip, make sure the information is up to date. If they aren’t microchipped, GET YOUR PET MICROCHPPED and REGISTERED today. Make sure your tags are labeled and attached to your dog or cat today even if they don’t typically wear them.
When given enough time we are able to also come up with a homeopathic remedy to help your dog with their fears and handling their emotions. There are many ways other providers practice homeopathy. What we like to do is find each individual pet's constitutional remedy. This means one remedy to address all your pets needs, including their fears surrounding fireworks, thunderstorms, and loud noises. It works best when not given for the first time during a crisis. This means we are to late to address 4th of July with a remedy this year, but after the fireworks die down *coughcough* we should start working up the right remedy for your pet ASAP. This year will give you a great opportunity to watch and record what your pet does when scared. It's important to see if they look for people, silence, plush blankets, hard surfaces, a cool or warm location. All these little details are imperative and instrumental in finding the right remedy.
Have a safe and happy holiday and call us with any questions or issues quickly so we can help!