by Shannon Wright
Greetings Dog Lovers!
It’s almost Independence Day!
Did you know July 4th is one of the most common dates for dogs to go missing? Trying these precautions can help ensure your dog will be happy and safe during the holiday.
1. MAKE SURE YOUR PETS MICROCHIPS ARE UP TO DATE!
2. Be proactive! Create a safe space for your dog that is comfortable and indoors.
3. Minimize the Noise. Suggestions include playing music or turning the TV up a little louder than usual during fireworks.
4. Use calming techniques:
Proper use and benefits of a Thundershirt: Often I hear about how Thundershirts don’t “work”. Truthfully, they don’t work because we put them on and expect some type of magic to happen. If we only use them in a time of desperation or as a last resort, our pets will associate the Thundershirts with all the scary stuff that happens. In other words, our dogs hear the fireworks or start to have anxiety and fear and then we put the Thundershirt on. This is subconsciously helping to create a negative association with the Thundershirt.
The goal is to create a happy emotional response to the Thundershirt. If you plan to use a Thundershirt this Independence day, be sure to condition your dog to the Thundershirt before the scary stuff starts to happen. A brief conditioning process includes putting the Thundershirt out for your dog to sniff, each time your dog approaches the shirt say yes and reward, repeat repeat repeat.
Next, continue the conditioning by putting the thunder shirt on your dog, reward your dog and then immediately go do your dog’s FAVORITE activity while they’re wearing it; car ride, walk, fetch, special playtime with another doggie friend, etc. We want to show our dog when the Thundershirt comes out and goes onto our dog the best things happen!
After your dog’s favorite activity is over, take it off, reward your dog and be sure to repeat the process. This will help your dog to develop a healthy view of the Thundershirt and every time they see it they will know good things are coming their way!
5. Tire them out. Some other ways to help your dogs during the firework season, exercise them early in the day! Have a playdate with another dog. Go for a swim or hiking adventure.
On a final note: if your dog has supersonic hearing or a fear of the noise that comes along with fireworks, apply all the above suggestions but also speak to your dog’s veterinarian.