The dog days of July 4th
"Independence Day celebrations can be great fun for humans, but the noise and visual stimulation can be traumatic for dogs," said Bruce Headley dog behavioral therapist of Metro Columbia Bark Busters. "By following a few precautions and being aware, we can keep our dogs safe and as comfortable as possible during Fourth of July revelry."
+ Understand that dogs don't like fireworks. The bangs, explosions and bright lights - accompanied by screams, sirens, and other howling dogs - create confusion and fear. It's not uncommon for dogs to run away from home after being frightened by fireworks.
+ Don't leave dogs outside. Bring your dogs inside to protect them. If this is not possible, cover the crate or kennel with a blanket to offer them some protection from the bright flashes and loud bangs. Always remember a dog's sense of hearing is acute - more than 10 times more sensitive than humans'.
+ Keep your dog away from doors. Your dog may be under significant stress, which could result in unnecessary injury to others or cause your pet to dart out the door and get lost.
+ It's always best to create a special area or "den" where your dog feels safe. A properly introduced crate or kennel can be a great den for your dog.
+ Keep windows and curtains closed to reduce noise and bright flashes.
+ Turn on a TV or radio to distract your dog from loud noises and help him or her relax. Classical music is the most calming.
+ Try to stay with your pet during the majority of the fireworks, if possible. A dog often reacts more intensely to loud noises and flashing lights when you are not there.
+ Always have identification on your dogs, in case they get out. Consider talking to your veterinarian about implanting a universal microchip in your pet and make sure that your veterinary hospital and animal shelter have current information in their database. For more information about Bark Busters, call 1- 877-500-BARK (2275) or visit www.BarkBusters.com