Ah, Independence Day. The sights, the smells, the BOOMS! It’s one of the best days in our country’s history, but it probably isn’t your doggo’s fave.
Lucky for you and your patriotic pup, we’ve put together a list of tail-wagging tips to help both of you enjoy the most American day of the year:
• Keep your buddy safe inside. Fido + fireworks = fear, and your pup is probably less mesmerized by the sparkles, flashes, and bangs than you are. Respect your dog’s needs and boundaries.
• ID your pup ahead of time. Whether your dog will be out at parades or only outside for potty breaks between hiding in the hoomans’ bathroom, their flight risk increases this time of year. Before the fun starts, be sure your pup has proper identification, a microchip, and a license tag (which is basically your doggo’s Uber ride home instead of to the pound).
• Keep your ears perked and your eyes open. According to PetAmberAlert.com, animal control services see a 30 percent increase in missing pets July 4-6 each year, mainly due to dogs being left unattended outside during loud parties and fireworks displays. If you find someone else’s lost dog, immediately follow these steps to get the furry one back to its home.
• Make a floof-friendly environment. During the pyrotechnics, make sure your four-legged companion has a cool, comfortable environment with plenty of food and water. Ensure your dog has her usual safe space to retreat to (her crate, a favorite couch corner, or even under the bed), and then just let her be. Your pup will come out when she feels ready.
This doesn’t mean totally ignoring your furry pal, either. “There is a common misconception that you should ignore your dog if they are acting fearful so they don’t act more fearful next time,” says Kristi Flynn, an assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at University of Minnesota. “This couldn’t be further from the truth. Fear is emotion and not a behavior. Nervous pets respond to and deserve comfort when they are scared.”
• Keep calm and carry on. Remember, dogs feed off our energy. The more you can “stay normal,” the more your pooch will be his usual happy-go-lucky self. Stick to the daily routine as much as pawsible when it comes to mealtimes and walks and you’ll be helping your doggo do the same.
• Use technology to your advantage. If necessary, you could consider giving your dog something to help ’em calm down, like Benadryl, herbal remedies, or prescription medications — but always check with your vet before pursuing one of these options. You can also turn on the TV (at regular volume) or play calming music during the “Rice Krispies” portion of the evening (the part with the Snap, Crackle, and Pop) to help your noise-sensitive pup feel calm and protected. Finally, you might try wrapping your shaky Schnauzer in a soothing ThunderShirt.
• Say no to hot dogs. We don’t mean the sizzling summer treat. Keep your dog cool and hydrated (indoors and out). And per usual, never ever leave a pet unattended in a vehicle. Here’s what to do if you see someone else’s dog in this situation.
Above all else, make sure to pay attention to your dog and address his unique needs as best as you can. However you two end up spending your Fourth, give us a wag on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram tagging #SidewalkDog to show us what you’re pup to!
Sidewalk Dog’s mission is to help dog parents spend more time with their puppers by discovering and sharing activities they can do and places they can go—together! Sniff out our award-winning newsletter and Instagram, then join our Dog-Friendly Twin Cities Facebook Group.