Keeping Your Dog Safe and Secure on July 4th

June 12, 2024 Written by: Hannah Moore

Backyard barbecues, stars and stripes, lakefront fun - and fireworks. While celebrating Independence Day is fun and festivities for humans, it can look different for our four-legged companions. From loud noises to the presence of unfamiliar people, pets can experience significant stress, making this holiday a source of anxiety and potential danger. 

According to the Humane Society of the United States, more pets go missing during the July 4th holiday than any other time of the year. Animal Control services across the nation have reported seeing a 30% increase in escaped/lost pets, causing many shelters to become increasingly overwhelmed between July 4th and July 6th. We spoke with the Director of Wayne County Dog Shelter, Katelyn Lehman, to find out more about how dog owners can keep their four-legged friends safe and secure this upcoming Independence Day. 

The Strain on Dogs and Shelters

Katelyn is a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator, who is committed to high standards and ethical practice in the field of animal welfare. She has been working with the Wayne County Dog Shelter for numerous years, and seen the effects of July 4th festivities firsthand on both dogs and shelters. “It’s especially hard because we are already maxed out on space, so it takes more staff for things like enrichment and cleaning, and we are still trying to reach out to adopters and owners. When the dogs come in, we want to get them back to their owners as fast as possible. That’s where trouble comes in because a lot of the dogs are not microchipped, or the chip is not registered and they don’t have a tag or anything on. It’s hard for us to get them back to their owners as fast.”

Katelyn says that there are multiple factors that contribute to the stress dogs face during the holiday season. Owners enjoying summer weather attending holiday festivities with their dogs, unfamiliar people and routines, and loud noises like fireworks play a large factor in the amount of dogs who escape or go missing during this time. 

  • Outdoor Festivities: “We have really great weather, so a lot more people want to be outside enjoying festivities - and want their dogs to come with them. There’s a greater chance that they can slip away (if frightened),” Katelyn shares. This can be an issue when the dog is not microchipped or wearing identification

  • Upturned Routines, Unfamiliar Faces: “People are getting together, and that can cause more anxiety as some dogs may not be familiar with new settings, new environments, and unfamiliar people.” These gatherings can cause a big change in a dog’s routine, making them anxious or uncomfortable. 

  • Fireworks: “Dogs can be so sensitive to fireworks and it can be very scary if they are not used to loud noises,” she says. Dogs have much more sensitive hearing than humans, so the loud booms and crackles of fireworks can be particularly distressing for them. 

Acute fear responses from fireworks can manifest as panting, drooling, shaking, trembling, hiding, barking excessively, and in many cases, attempting to escape. For some, those escape attempts succeed. 

Tips for Celebrating Safely

From updated identification to products designed to dampen noise, we worked with Katelyn to compile a list of top tips for keeping your four-legged friends safe, secure, and out of the shelter throughout the 4th of July/firework season. 

  • Know Your Dog: We all want our dogs to participate in festivities with us, but if your dog is known to become anxious or fearful around unknown people and places or struggles with noise phobia, giving them a quiet, comfortable space at home can help reduce the risk of stress.

  • Updated Identification: Make sure your dog’s ID tag is up to date with current information; this might include your pet’s name, your name, phone number, and home address.

  • Microchipped: Microchips help save pets from spending unnecessary time in shelters. Before the 4th, get your pup microchipped - and don’t forget to register their chip with your current information.

  • Comfortable, Secure Containment: For dogs who may be nervous of new people and fireworks, create a safe space for them to retreat to during loud noises. It can be a crate or a designated room where your dog feels safe and secure. Close the doors and windows to block out as much noise as possible, and provide them with comforting items such as a favorite toy or blanket.

  • Reliable Collar & Leash: If your dog is enjoying festivities outdoors with you, or staying loose in your home, make sure they are wearing a secure collar equipped with their identification. Alongside a strong collar, choosing a leash that won’t fail can make all the difference. A collar with a strong, durable buckle and a leash with reliable hardware that won’t break, like our Crux Collar and Brahma Leash, can help keep your dog from escaping if they get frightened by fireworks.

  • Noise Dampening Gear: In some cases, it may be necessary to use ear protection for your dog. This protective gear can help reduce anxiety in noise-phobic pets by providing a physical barrier to sound and lowering the intensity of loud noises. The Rex Specs Ear Pro is proven to effectively reduce noise levels that can trigger your dog’s noise phobia. With a comfortable, adjustable hood that’s easy to put on and take off, you can help keep your dog calm and relaxed.

Katelyn's Top Advice for Dog Owners

When asked what her number one piece of advice would be for dog owners during fireworks season, Katelyn says that “The most important thing is the identification. Make sure that your dog has identification that is current and up to date. Ultimately, you can try everything you can to keep your dog at home and they could still get away. Something can always happen. Also, make sure that you know in your area where dogs go if they are running loose, whether it’s the humane society or a dog shelter.” 

Choosing Ear Pro?

Thinking of choosing Ear Pro for your dog? Don’t wait! Firework season is fast approaching, and your dog may need time and training to get comfortable in their new gear.

Learn how to size your dog for Ear Pro here.

Don’t forget to read our Ear Pro training tips!

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