Thursday, July 3, 2014

Get Your Pet Ready For Fourth Of July!

Did you know that more dogs are lost on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year?

All of that booming, crashing, flashing lights and chaos is the equivalent of the apocalypse to your pet. (Remember they can hear much better than we can and they are not expecting the sky to light up and crash around).

Here are my tips for preparing you and your pet for a safe, uneventful Fourth Of July!

  1. Keep your pet at home and AWAY FROM FIREWORKS! They scare them to pieces.
  2. Keep your pet with you, leashed to you, or in your house, at all times when loud noisy activities are going on.
  3. Use a reflective collar to alert motorists should your pet be out at night. Motorists often are not looking down, and if your pet gets loose the reflective collar might save their life.
  4. Have your pets information on their collar. I like to embroider my phone number on their collar, so that if a tag falls off the information is still there, but there are also metal plates that can be mounted on a pets collar. 
  5. Have your pet micro-chipped.
  6. Have a tag on the collar with your pet's name, your phone number and "MICROCHIPPED" written on it, (if your pet is micro-chipped).
  7. Assume your pet will over react to loud noises and be prepared for it. Any gunfire, fireworks, or even overhead airplanes can cause a pet to run. if you hear any loud noises look at your pet. If they are looking scared, perplexed, or anxious get them inside or on a leash immediately.
  8. If you are inside and your pet is looking fearful place them in a safe, enclosed, secure space. The smaller the better (most pets feel safer in a small contained area like a cage versus a room). 
  9. If they are still feeling overwhelmed by the noises, try to dampen them by placing a blanket over the cage to block out the noise.
  10. If your pet is calmer with you then keep them next to you. Don't intensify their fear by baby-talking to them. This will often reinforce their fear. If they think that you are afraid too it will just  compound their insecurity. Be kind and gentle but not afraid.
  11. Keep pets away from windows. I have seen dogs jump through a window to run.
  12. For any pet that has had an issue with thunderstorms, or fireworks, etc. in the past, once they have a fear then they will likely have it forever. Expect this and prepare for it. Ask your vet for help with dealing with fear based anxiety issues. Most behavioral issues worsen and intensify with time. Expect this and prepare for it after the first occasion.
  13. See your veterinarian about medications to help with fear and anxiety. But remember they need to be in your pet about 30 minutes before they need them. For thunderstorms this is often hard to time correctly. For fireworks give your pet the medication about 45 minutes before night fall.
  14. Even with training to try to ease their fears (we call it conditioning) the chance of them over reacting to a threatening stimuli is present. There are things to try that might help. I would encourage you to try them. See a behaviorist and your vet for help in addressing your pets fears.

Be Safe Everyone! 

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