“More pets get lost on July 4th than any other day of the year,” according to the experts at HomeAgain, a lost pet recovery service.
Dog owners know well that the pooch can be in the furthest reaches of the home but will come running if you grab a crinkly package of chips from the pantry.
That’s how keen their sense of hearing is. “In fact, they are capable of hearing sounds four times further away than the human ear can discern … They have 15 different muscles that move their ears in all directions,” claim the experts at PawsChicago.org.
Imagine then what the booming, blasting, popping sounds of the typical July 4th celebration does to a dog’s ears. Since it’s something most dogs don’t hear frequently, it causes great fear and anxiety.
The dog experts at Purina say that it’s not only the sound of fireworks but their unpredictability of them that causes the dog to perceive them as a threat.
“This triggers their fight-or-flight response,” they say online at Purina.com. “Your dog may bark at the noises or try to run away and hide. They may also show other signs of anxiety, like restlessness, panting, pacing, or whining.”
Many dogs get the fight or flight response and choose the latter, attempting to escape the perceived threat. This leads us to the first tip to keep your dog safe on Independence Day.
1. Ensure that your dog’s microchip is up-to-date and that he or she wears a collar with an ID tag attached.
Your dog is microchipped, right? According to a study published by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and highlighted by Ohio State University’s website, animal “… shelter officials housing lost pets that had been implanted with a microchip were able to find the owners in almost three out of four cases.”
It’s not enough, however, to have your dog microchipped as a puppy and then forget about it. If you move, the chip should be updated to contain your current contact information.
Don’t let your pet be among those that never see their owners again because they aren’t chipped or the chip contains old information.
2. Thinking of taking the pooch with you to the festivities? Think again.
Not only will there be the frightening and unpredictable fireworks at celebrations, but also the crowds of people, the kids running around, and being in an unfamiliar place. Your dog may just decide to make a run for it.
Experts with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommend leaving the dog at home “… in a safe, escape-proof room or crate.”
3. It’s not over until after the cleanup
The aftermath of any self-respecting Independence Day celebration can be dangerous for our pets. The wind could blow in debris from the neighbors’ yards even if you didn’t host the celebration.
It’s a good idea to clear the debris before allowing your dog to play in the yard. Pick up spent fireworks, food scraps (especially bones), barbecue skewers, and paper debris.
We hope you, and your pets, have a safe and happy Independence Day!