July can be a terrifying time for dogs who are fearful of the loud noises associated with fireworks or thunderstorms. Dogs who are scared will instinctively run away and can easily get lost. July fifth is one of the busiest days of the year for shelters as they intake pets lost during the Fourth of July commotion. Here are some tips to help your dog stay safe and calm during the summer holiday.

Recognize the signs of stress in dogs

Dogs can show many different signs of stress, so you need to recognize the signs in your dog to be able to provide relief. Dogs can exhibit these signs of stress:

  • Panting, licking, or drooling
  • Yawning
  • Pacing
  • Shaking
  • Excessive crying or barking
  • Decreased appetite  
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Shedding  
  • Change in body posture
  • Behavioral changes  
  • Hiding or escaping

Knowing your dog’s normal behaviors and mannerisms, and recognizing variances in his behavior, will help you decide whether he is stressed or simply wanting to play ball. Watch for changes in body posture, such as ears normally forward and lips relaxed, to ears pointed toward his back and tight lips, and for different eating patterns.

Relieve your dog’s stress

If you believe your dog is stressed because of the booms and bangs of a nearby fireworks display, you can take steps to relieve his stress and anxiety. Attempt to remove your dog from the situation and dull the sounds by creating a safe place for your pet in an interior room in your home. Place your pet’s crate, favorite bedding, toys, and treats inside the room, play calming music, and spray pheromones (Adaptil). Avoid punishing your fearful dog, which will only exacerbate his anxious behavior.

If you plan to attend a Fourth of July party away from your home, your pet’s safe space is the best place to keep him until you get home.

If your dog constantly displays signs of stress or anxiety, consult our team at Loving Family Animal Hospital. We can rule out underlying medical conditions and provide options to help relieve your dog’s stress.

Prepare your dog for the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July can be a stressful and dangerous time for pets,  so plan ahead to ensure your dog will be comfortable and safe.

Check that your dog’s identification tags and microchip contain current information. If your pet isn’t microchipped, make an appointment to have the small piece of permanent identification implanted before the July Fourth holiday—it’s as simple as getting a vaccine. If he gets lost during the celebration commotion, the contact information on his tag or microchip will help ensure you are reunited.

If you know fireworks make your pup anxious, contact our team before the holiday. We can offer options to help reduce your pet’s stress with calming sprays, supplements, or anti-anxiety medications. We can also advise you how to desensitize your dog to the loud sounds of fireworks.

Before the July Fourth festivities, check the security of your yard. Look for any weak spots or holes where your dog could escape. If you host a backyard gathering with friends and family and your dog joins the festivities outside, he may sneak out undetected while you’re entertaining. Or, if your dog is scared of the loud fireworks, he may try to hide or run away from the noise, so it is crucial that your yard is escape-proof.

Our team at Loving Family Animal Hospital wants your dog to be safe and comfortable during the Fourth of July holiday, so contact us if you have concerns, and we will help get you and your pup ready.