Keeping Your Dog Calm During Fireworks

It’s 4th of July week and that means you will probably have some fireworks going off around you, either in a big display or just some firecrackers being shot off in your neighborhood.  fireworksYou may love to watch fireworks, and who doesn’t, especially at Independence Day?  Your dog is who.  More dogs are lost around the 4th of the July than any other time of the year.  That’s because many of them are left alone at home, get agitated by the noise, and run off.  Last year in Durham, NC, a dog that runs the bases at the Durham Bulls games was being put in the car by his owner when the post-game fireworks started.  He was spooked and ran off.  Fortunately because of the media attention, he was returned to his owner.

It’s the loud, unpredictable sound that frightens them.  If you are going to a fireworks show, leave the dog at home.  Dogs can’t see the colors like we do and the noise could make them afraid.  Even though it’s at night, it’s still usually hot and humid, and there are crowds and strangers and those factors can make even the most docile dog agitated and will make sure you and the people around you won’t enjoy the show.

So what happens if you leave your dog at home, but you know there will be some firecrackers shot off around your house?  Dr. Bonnie Beaver, past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association has some tips for how to keep your dog calm.  “You want to keep them inside and as far away from the noise as possible,” says Dr. Beaver.scared  She says some background noise from the TV or radio works.  And your vet can prescribe something for it too.  Keeping the room dark also helps.

There are some over the counter products that are available to calm your dog also.  Dog City Bakery in East Cobb and in Sandy Springs has some products available.  completeCalm-productComplete Calm is a mixture of herbs in chewable form that can help keep your pet relaxed in any stressful situation, including separation, car rides, trips to the vet or groomer or moving into a new home.  You can also get a similar product, Herbsmith Calm Shen at Dog City.  It comes in powder or pill form.  An alternative to the oral medication is Rescue Remedy for Pets.  These are drops that you put in your pet’s water bowl.

If your dog gets scared during thunderstorms, it will likely be scared during fireworks.  If you have a Thundershirt for your dog, you may want to put it in it, but not if it will be left unattended.  If you typically crate your dog during thunderstorms, crate it during the fireworks.

AmyKcompr  If you are leaving your pet at home while you and the family attend the fireworks, you may want to have your pet sitter come over and stay with it.  The play time and being with a familiar face can help to relieve the stress and distract the dog from the noise.

Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/

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Dog Bite Prevention Week

     National Dog Bite Prevention Week starts on Sunday.  The American Veterinary Medical Association started designating a week to focus attention on dog bites and theirImage prevention.  Just how much of a problem is this in our country?  4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs annually.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of those are children.  The Insurance Information Institute says dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2012 at nearly $500 million dollars.  The number of claims filed last year actually decreased by 1.4 percent.  Georgia ranks 9th in the US with 121 claims paid last year worth $3.3 million.  The US Postal service says that nearly 5900 letter carriers were attacked by dogs last year.  Atlanta doesn’t show up in the top 20 US cities for dog attacks on Postal Service Workers, but Los Angeles is number one with 69.

  Whether or not a dog will bite has nothing to do with the breed.  Any dog in any breed can bite. Image The friendliest Lab will turn aggressive if it’s chained to a pole and ignored all day.  Socialization of your dog with people at an early age is very important.  You should never leave a child alone with a dog.  Make sure your kids know not to disturb a dog that is eating or sleeping.   Avoid exposing your dog to people and situations that are unfamiliar to it so you don’t know how it will react.  If you’re thinking about getting a dog, talk to a vet or an animal behaviorist about what breeds work best with your household situation.  Do you have small children? Will the dog spend a lot of time alone?  These things are important in ensuring that your dog will be less likely to attack someone. 

    Don’t be afraid to keep people, especially children away from your pet when you are walking them.  A lot of times when our dog walkers are walking client dogs someone will come up and ask if they can pet the dog.  ImageVI tell the sitters to politely decline, telling them it’s not their dog and they are not sure how the dog will react.  Sometimes children may get a little bolder approaching a dog on a leash, but since the dog is on a leash and out of its comfort zone, it may be more on edge and more likely to attack.  The advice I give my sitters could work for you:  Be aware of your surroundings and eliminate the potential for trouble before it happens.  If you are walking your dog and there is a group of children or you see a dog off its leash, turn around or go a different way, so there won’t be any interaction. 

    Some of the links in this story have more tips to avoid dog bites.  Be sure and check those out and check in on my Facebook and Google + pages to see things I’ll have posted all next week.  Dogs are for fun and pleasure, but you must remember they are animals and you never know how they will react in strange situations.  Stay safe and don’t wind up as a statistic!

   Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/