Through shaking paws

Fireworks aren’t a dog’s best friend

By GRETA SHUSTER Special to the Beacon
Posted 7/3/24


Special to the Herald

The Fourth of July is one of the most exciting holidays with barbecues, fireworks, and large gatherings of family and friends. For humans, that is.

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Through shaking paws

Fireworks aren’t a dog’s best friend


The Fourth of July is one of the most exciting holidays with barbecues, fireworks, and large gatherings of family and friends. For humans, that is.

For pets, specifically dogs, the Fourth of July can be an anxiety-inducing experience because of loud noises, new people, and unfamiliar smells. In order to protect the wellbeing of your pets, consider taking some of these measures.

On the Fourth of July, the chances of pets getting spooked and running away are dramatically increased. According to the American Kennel Club, more pets go missing during the July Fourth holiday weekend than any other weekend of the year.

“During the Fourth of July holiday, the third to the fifth, a lot of dogs go missing,” said Adrianna Raymond, Dog Care Manager at the Rhode Island SPCA based in Warwick. “And when they go missing, dogs aren't going to survive a long time out in the wild, and a lot of times other people who don't like dogs might harm them.”

To prepare for this in advance, make sure that your pets have up-to-date information on their identification tags or in their microchipping database. If you’re traveling out of town for the holiday, consider making arrangements to leave your pet at home with a sitter or boarding them at a kennel.

“Of utmost importance is having your pets microchipped or have proper identification tags,” said Karen Kalunian, host of Animal Talk on Rhode Island PBS. “Should your pet go missing, please call your local police department as well as animal shelters in your area to alert them. There are online services to share your missing pets or contact a local pet tracker.”

Petco locations across the state sell the ThunderShirt dog vest, a product that aims to reduce dog anxiety. Similar to a weighted blanket for humans, the vest calms dogs down by applying slight pressure that feels like a hug. Petco sells these vests in sizes ranging from XS to XL, so there is one that will fit every breed of dog. The ThunderShirt is great for fireworks, thunderstorms, separation anxiety, travel, leash pulling, and more.

“Try to play music or TV in the background, to make sure that there's some sort of sound barrier so they can't just hear the fireworks,” said Raymond. “It does take most dogs a really long time to decompress after [the fireworks] because they're unsure of when it might start again.”

Raymond also recommends hemp seed oil to help dogs with anxiety. Rather than putting it in their food or directly into their mouth, rubbing the oil on their gums is the most effective way for their bodies to absorb it. Kalunian recommends finding an enrichment activity to occupy your pet, such as filling a Kong or a puzzle toy with treats.

Be sure to bring your dog outside early on the Fourth for a walk, so that they can be kept inside when the festivities begin later on in the day. Choose to leave your pets at home when you go to parties, events, and firework displays. Keep pets inside if you or close neighbors are actively setting off fireworks. Keep human food, fireworks and sparkler debris, and grilling materials away from pets so they can’t ingest it. Too much sun and heat are always dangerous for animals, especially in the hot month of July.

Kalunian stresses that education around pet safety is the key to protecting their wellbeing. She said, “More and more people have become aware of how loud noises and large celebrations can affect animals — it's about spreading awareness in order to keep them safe, happy and healthy!”

It’s also important to remember that a pet’s wellbeing may be just as important as a human’s. During this Fourth of July holiday, please consider taking the appropriate measures to ensure that your pet feels safe and comfortable.


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