Each year I get up to a dozen calls from frantic people who are searching for pets that ran away during the 4th of July fireworks. Some animals, especially dogs, react to loud noises such as thunder or fireworks, by panting, vocalizing, drooling, shaking, cowering or worse – running. A noise-phobic dog may break out of windows, claw through doors, and run until they are lost or exhausted. Many are hurt or never found. Be sure to have up to date ID tags on your animals.
If you know that your dog reacts to loud noises, it’s time to prepare for the 4th. If you’re not sure, find out today and plan accordingly.
Rescue Remedy, a Bach flower essence, is a non-toxic liquid that works gently on the energy system to relieve stress and anxiety. It is available at most health food stores and many pet supply stores. Put 4 drops into the animal’s water dish and stir vigorously. Start today and continue through July 5th. You can use it too.
Another human supplement now used with dogs is melatonin. It should be used for several consecutive days (before and during the 4th) and can calm the nerves and reduce anxiety. The Whole Dog Journal recommends that large dogs take about 3 mgs daily and dogs less than 30 pounds only 1.5 mgs. Herbal tinctures of valerian, skullcap or kava kava can also be helpful. Always check first with your veterinarian for exact doses and usage.
In addition to one of the calming supplements, it’s most important that your animals are kept in a safe place that they cannot escape from. An interior bathroom with no windows is a nice dark quiet spot. Play the radio or TV to cut down on the intensity of the outside noise, and reassure your pet that everything is OK.
It is best to not take your pet to a big celebration, and be aware of what is happening in the neighborhood. Small firecrackers can upset as much as large ones, and dogs can ingest unexploded fireworks. Fur catches on fire easily too!
Think ahead and keep your pets safe on the 4th.