The BEST Pet Guardians accept the REALITY of the situation & take appropriate measures to secure their dogs, cats and other pets during the entire weeks before and after July 4th. Trying to stop fireworks on 7/4 is like trying to stop rain. Secure your dogs!
Dear Friends, neighbors, pet guardians and caretakers: Fourth of July is right around the corner and “Some Neighbors” are already setting off fireworks- Be sure to keep your pup on a leash EVEN when s/he is in your OWN backyard for the next four weeks! I know it seems overly cautious, but if you watch Social Media you will see repeated postings about terrified dogs breaking out of the house and yard EVERY DAY for the next four weeks (sigh) and it ALWAYS seems to come as a huge surprise to the owners, even though we post warnings every year. You may want to begin preparing several of these preventive measures TODAY to help your pet!
HOW YOU CAN HELP YOUR DOG WHO IS AFRAID OF FIREWORKS: OPTIONS:
2- Anti-anxiety meds (Call for your vet appointment NOW- ALL vets are horribly backed up, you will not be able to get an appointment when you need one at the last minute)
3- Designate a safe space inside the MIDDLE of your home if possible (ours is an internal bathroom with no windows- We put pillows and blankets in the tub, TWO LOUD Speakers to drown out some of the outside explosions, treats to distract the pups and lots of things -books, laptops-TV-people food and drink, etc- to entertain US human family members because our pets feel safest when WE are WITH them!) We have found that the sound of running water also helps when the explosions get bad.
4- At least TWO to FOUR really good SPEAKERS to drown out the outside explosions. ONE is NOT enough. We like the BOZE speakers, pick what works well for you.
5- A playlist of calming music already set up (Google search: Calming music for your dog- DO practice in advance and observe what specific help/calms YOUR own dog. OUR particular dogs like various kinds of classical music and hard rock but maybe they just like what we like, lol). There’s a bunch of scientific studies for certain music that helps/calms/entertains many dogs, so read what they suggest and test it on your own pups BEFORE you need it.)
6- Keep Fido/Fluffy ON LEASH ATTACHED TO YOU even in your own backyard! Even if your pup has never broken out of the yard before THIS is the time of the year it WILL happen if you allow them in your own backyard unsupervised. There is NO excuse for this, yet it happens predictably EVERY SINGLE YEAR and the owner/guardian always acts surprised. Remember that anxiety brings panting, panting makes dogs want to drink more water, then they have increased urination needs, then you have to bring them into the yard to urinate more frequently, then they are exposed to more explosions, they become more anxious, and the cycle feeds upon itself.
7- Be DOUBLY/TRIPLY/QUADRUPLY careful about open doors and windows- EXPECT your dog to try to bolt out them when s/he is terrified and prophylactically prepare against it. We keep leashes on our Rescue Dogs when they are in any rooms that have a door to the outside. BEFORE an outside door or window is opened, we remove any dogs from that room or secure the leash over an adult wrist!
8. Sit down with your children and explain why THEY should also be prepared for this behaviour for the next four weeks and explain what THEY can do to help calm your pets and PREVENT them from breaking out during their fear-induced escape attempts.
9. Remember that regular SCREEN DOORS and SCREEN WINDOWS will NOT hold a terrified pet indoors. Prepare accordingly.
10. You can Do FIREWORKS DESENSITIZATION/Counterconditioning TRAINING in advance (IE: now!!!) – google how to do this for YOUR dog! OVERVIEW: Sound desensitization involves exposing your pup to noises that are relatively quiet at first, treat them with high value foods until they are okay with it and then progress to slightly louder sounds, up the scale until they can tolerate greater amounts of noise. This DOES take lots of TIME, – it cannot be done in a week, it must be done every day (preferably several times a day) but you CAN get started TODAY!- Google how to do this best and/or check with a GOOD TRAINER/BEHAVIOURIST) Here’s a couple studies on the effectiveness: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/canine-corner/202007/can-dogs-who-are-afraid-fireworks-or-loud-noise-be-cured
11. Cover your dog’s ears- You will need to PRACTICE this in advance (see photos attached and look online for suggested ear-mufflers!) Not all dogs will tolerate ear-muffs right away, you need to work up to it.
12. EDUCATION: POST SIGNS in your yard and on your street corners (not everyone reads Social Media!) letting your neighbors know that it is NOT okay to set off fireworks in your neighborhood for multiple reasons, INCLUDING it will TERRIFY your dogs (See sample signs attached!) (Not to mention fire safety, folks who have PTSD, babies, etc.)13. TAGS & MICROCHIP: BE SURE YOUR PET HAS TAGS ON THE COLLAR WITH YOUR CORRECT HOME AND CURRENT PHONE NUMBER. CALL YOUR MICROCHIP COMPANY AND VERIFY THEY HAVE THE CORRECT ADDRESS & PHONE NUMBERS TODAY.
FREE MICROCHIP REGISTRATION: This weekend, more dogs will go missing than any other time of the year. Microchips are a fantastic way to recover lost dogs, as long as they’re registered – Fi’s free microchip registration is open to everyone regardless of chip manufacturer, and everyone that registers before Monday, July 5th will be entered to win a free Fi GPS collar and one year subscription!
Register or reregister your microchip at this link to keep your pup safe and enter to win a Fi collar: https://ylm2pkzh73h.typeform.com/to/CD8ksvlJ#rescue=295.
14. IDENTIFY THE OFFENDERS: If you happen to be outside and can follow the sound, get out your phone and RECORD ON VIDEO whoever is setting off the noisemakers. Get the EXACT ADDRESS & description of offenders. REPORT IT. SHARE the info with your other neighbors and ask THEM to also report it. The police/sheriff will not respond without a SPECIFIC address and SPECIFIC EVIDENCE (ie-your video) and your citizen COMPLAINT. Upload the video to YOUTUBE, and be prepared to share the LINK to that video with the police for evidence. The more neighbors who ACTIVELY report, the more likely law enforcement will respond. Most of the time, the offenders will set off multiple fireworks at a time, (and do so several days in a row) so be prepared to move quickly to track them down immediately for maximum effectiveness. That said, do NOT confront the offenders yourself. As Dad used to say: “Being Dead Right is still being dead.”
Please feel free to copy/paste and let’s BE PREPARED TO PROTECT OUR PETS as best we can this year!
Any more suggestions that have worked to protect your pets, neighbors?
~THE TEAM @ ARC RESCUE