Pet-Wise: Fireworks are Coming … Preparing Your Dog for July 4

by June 28, 2016 at 2:45 pm 1 Comment


This sponsored column is written by Bonny King-Taylor, director of training and communication at Saving Grace Petcare. Visit and let us know how we can support you.

According to the American Humane Society, July 5 is the busiest day of the year in animal shelters.

Frantic pets can exert amazing strength and strategy to escape the noise and confusion caused by fireworks, banging pans and the other explosive parts of our Independence Day celebrations. They’re strongest impulse is to get away from what they perceive as a threat, so they’ll “Houdini” out of crates, jump fences, slip through doors and end up on the street, alone and afraid.

You can help your dog by reducing any possibility of escape:

  • Do NOT take your dog to outdoor events of any kind, not even backyard picnics.
  • Take your last evening walk before 6 p.m.
  • Limit your dog’s range by using a covered crate in a cool, dark and quiet place.
  • If a crate is not available, make a bathroom or pantry as comfortable as possible (extra blankets and pillows that you won’t mind being torn up can help).
  • Provide plenty of water and a limited amount of super high value treats in distracting devices like frozen Kongs and interactive games. (An upset stomach either from stress or gobbled food during a stressful time can lead to a mess.)
  • Instruct guests to be very careful with doors and windows and to leave a stressed dog alone.
  • Be sure your dog wears identification, even while in the house.

You might also consider using a calming product like Rescue Remedy or DAP that can help take the edge off the assault on your dog’s acute hearing.  These products are known to help with separation anxiety, crate stress and general sensory sensitivity, but should only be counted on for minor help during the extreme stress of the holiday.

Use every effort to remove any physical dangers first!

We hope you never need this information, but if the worst occurs and your pet is lost, contact the District’s 311 non-emergency number to be connected with an Animal Control officer and call the Humane Society at 202-BE-HUMANE (202-234-8626) for support.

Take a moment to get connected with an organization like Lost & Found Dogs DC  for a comprehensive plan. The better prepared you are, the less likely you will ever need their help!

In a future column, we’ll give you the best tips for helping a lost dog.

In the meanwhile, tell us in the comments what you do to keep your pets calm during loud times like the 4th, or during thunderstorms?

Finding a great pet-life balance when you are busy with work, family and social obligations can be tough. Busy people need all the help they can get and Saving Grace Petcare is here to help you navigate the urban, professional environment across the 20002 and 20003 zip codes.

We’ve learned a thing or two during our 16 years of caring for thousands of every kind of pet you can imagine. In Pet-Wise each week, we will share tips, tricks, behavioral and product recommendations, book reviews and sweet stories about life with pets in the Capitol Hill, Hill East, NoMa and Brookland neighborhoods.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Hill Now.


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