For dogs, the July 4 holiday is not a time for celebration. While humans enjoy backyard barbecues and displays of colorful fireworks, dogs across the country cower under beds in fear. And in recent years, fireworks have become more prevalent. From baseball games to rock concerts, it's not uncommon to hear the explosions and see the sky light up all year long. That's a lot of time spent shaking under the bed for your four-legged friend.
In a genius move, an Italian town switched to silent fireworks to help anxious pets spend less time being afraid. Frankly, it would be great if everyone could get on board with this whole silent-fireworks thing. While my dog isn't bothered by the sonic booms, my roommate's dog, George, used to shake so violently that we had to put him in a compression wrap for part of June and most of July. Even though citizens setting off their own fireworks is illegal in Los Angeles, thousands of people still do it, and the cops are too busy solving crimes to bother responding to illegal fireworks calls.
While towns and cities putting on silent fireworks displays won't stop the noise from the DIY folks, organized silent fireworks can go a long way toward calming an anxious dog on July 4.
According to a press release, the town of Collecchio in the province of Parma, Italy, has chosen the welfare of its four-legged residents over the sound of fireworks. "The more sensitive hearing of animals causes them to develop a condition known as 'acoustic stress' that follows sudden and loud noises," the statement said. "The sounds and smoke created by fireworks can cause additional health problems in animals. Vets commonly report cases of nausea, tremors, and increased anxiety in animals after a fireworks show."
In addition, the American Kennel Club reported that more pets go missing on July 4-5 than any other day of the year, and fireworks are a contributing factor. "They don’t know where the noise is coming from and they try to escape because they don’t understand,” Dallas Harsa, vice president of sales and marketing at AKC Reunite, said on the AKC's website.
At age 14, George is now deaf so we no longer have to worry about him dying of fright from fireworks. If you have anxious pup who hates Independence Day, there are some things you can do to help Fido feel better. The AKC club offers a list of downloadable tips to help keep pets safe over the July 4 holiday.
Some of the suggestions include making sure your dog or cat (Fluffy might not appreciate fireworks either) has access to a safe, quiet space. Keep your windows closed, turn on some soothing classical music, and put your dog in a thunder shirt or make a compression wrap using an ace bandage or a scarf — this video will walk you through it step by step. Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with identification tags. We also give the dogs some CBD oil to calm any potential anxiety before it starts.
If your pet does run away over the holiday weekend, check your local shelters and use the Nextdoor app to see if any of your neighbors post about found pets. A neighborhood specific social networking site, Nextdoor is where people go to exchange information about what's happening locally, and it can be super helpful if your pet gets lost. Because until silent fireworks become a reality everywhere, you might need a little help from your friends to keep Fido and Fluffy safe.