7 Steps to a Pet-Friendly 4th of July
By: Jeff Noce, Voyce President
According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), animal shelters throughout the country report a dramatic increase in the number of lost animals around the 4th of July holiday.
This isn’t at all surprising when you think about it. The sights and sounds of celebration that we look forward to each year can be frightening to both dogs and cats. They may run, hide or even injure themselves in a panicked attempt to get away from the loud noises and sudden bursts of light.
Follow these simple steps for a safe 4th of July for your pet:
1. Get plenty of activity early in the day.
Exercise is a proven stress reliever for both humans and pets. In addition, a tired dog is more likely to sleep through the muffled sounds of fireworks. Get out as early as possible and take an extra long walk or throw the ball. If your dog is older or has health issues, try playing some brain games with him. Mental exercise can be just as tiring, if not more so, than physical exercise!
2. Take extra security measures.
Before heading out on a walk, double check your dog’s collar and leash. They shouldn’t be frayed or thin, and the collar should fit snugly so that he can’t back out of it. Around your home, inspect your fence, looking for loose boards or holes that your dog could slip through.
3. Avoid using fireworks around your pet.
If you live in an area where personal fireworks are allowed, and you plan to purchase some, keep them far away from your pet. Even if far-off fireworks don’t phase your dog, he could still be frightened by an explosion or pop close by.
4. Leave him at home.
Because dogs are members of our families, it might be tempting to take him along to a social gathering or a fireworks display. But you’ll be doing both of you a favor by leaving him at home in familiar surroundings where he feels safe. Keep him inside your house instead of your yard while you’re away, since access to the outdoors increases the chances of your dog escaping and becoming lost.
5. Create a “safe zone” inside.
Where does your dog feel most comfortable? Furnish it with comfortable beds and blankets for the evening, as well as his favorite toys and plenty of fresh water. Play soothing music or turn on the TV to help drown out the noise outside.
6. Understand signs of stress.
Dogs are usually good about conveying anxiety through body language. Keep an eye out for panting, pacing, drooling or shaking. If your dog has a Voyce Health Monitor and you’re unsure about the level of stress he’s experiencing, log on to the interactive Wellness Management Center and take a look at his resting respiratory and heart rates. If either or both are elevated, it’s a good indicator that your dog is anxious, and you should take proactive steps to calm him.
7. Make sure identification is up to date.
Even pet parents who take all the right precautions may find that their dog has escaped. All it takes is a split second for them to escape through an open door or cracked gate. Be sure that your dog’s tags are up to date!
On behalf of all of us here at Voyce, I want to wish you and your four-legged family members a happy and safe 4of July!
I’d like to hear from you! If you have questions you’d like me to address on this blog regarding pet health or behavior, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.