Did you know this is peak season for runaway dogs?
Independence Day celebrations can last for a week or longer, and the fireworks and firecrackers associated with the fun can cause dogs to hide or run away trying to escape the noise. As pet owners, we need to take some extra precautions to keep our pets safely at home.
Not all dogs suffer from noise phobias, but fear of loud noises from fireworks, thunderstorms, emergency sirens and even vacuum cleaners is common among canines. You can to de-sensitize a dog to loud sounds, but it takes time and may require the help of your veterinarian or a professional trainer
In the meantime, we asked a few of Best Friends professional trainers for suggestions on how to keep pets safe and secure during the loud celebrations coming up this month. Most importantly, they say, do NOT take your dog to events that involve fireworks. Even if your dog hasn’t been troubled by loud noises in the past, this could be the time she runs away to escape the scary sounds.
Instead, they suggest creating a “den” for your dog in a quiet area of your home – like an interior or lower level room where noise is muffled. Move his bed and favorite toys into the space for comfort. A radio or TV can help mask outside sounds.
During the fireworks, distract her by playing with a favorite toy. Or try practicing obedience skills, rewarding him with favorite treats. Speak calmly and reassuringly and try not to show anxiety, which can make the situation worse.
You also might want to try a stress-reducing device, like a Thundershirt anxiety wrap, or a DAP diffuser, which releases a calming pheromone.
Most importantly, don’t leave your dog alone. If you can’t be home with your pet, find someone to stay with him or take him to a boarding kennel offering indoor rooms that muffle the noise. Having the company of other dogs and the attention of caring humans can help distract and reassure him.
For more advice on dog behavior and training, visit the Best Friends Pet Care resource library.