Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dogs and Fireworks - Dont Mix


No one loves the 4th of July more than I do. Growing up as a part of the baby boom it was a highlight of the year. Every block in my neighborhood had their own float. When we weren't part of that we decorated our bicycles and rode in the parade. Later, as part of our 4-H group we rode our horses in the 4th of July parade. One year I went as Betsy Ross with a white bonnet and long dress, riding side saddle on my 4-H American Saddlebred mare, Babe, aka Lady Hamilton Stonewall, with a flag draped just behind the saddle. Fortunately her calm nature led her to behave just fine in spite of the band! In later years when my Arabian mare, Tali, and I were in the 4th of July parade, she, who took almost everything in stride, started snorting and running backwards while we were lining up for the parade. I looked up and saw the problem, a GIANT 15 foot tall COW, mounted on a float!

But, every year on the 4th of July, hundreds if not thousands of dogs are so frightened by the fireworks that they run away from home. Some are never found. Dogs have diffeent reactions to the loud sounds of fireworks, depending on how sound sensitive they are. Here are some tips for helping your dog deal with the booming sounds of the 4th of July and New Years, or any time when loud noises abound.

* Keep your dog inside the house and dont take them to fireworks displays.

* Dont reassure your dog by excessive petting and talking. Your presence and normal behavior will resassure your pet.

* Minimize then noise of the fireworks by playing television, turning on fans, running the dishwasher and playing music. Background noise will mask the sounds of the fireworks.

*If your dog wants to hide let him/her find a comfortable place.

* A nice juicy marrow bone, Kong with peanut butter or other favorite treat can take their mind of their troubles.

Most Keeshonden are not that bothered by the sounds. Dogs that truly panic and try to escape inside the house by digging at doors etc, may need a sedative from your veterinarian or natural calming therapy like Bachs Rescue Remedy.

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