Many Iowans are already celebrating Independence Day by shooting off noisy fireworks and firecrackers, which makes this a stressful time for dogs and their owners. Paula Sunday, a dog behavior counselor at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, says for starters, don’t take your dog to a fireworks display.
Sunday says some dogs can handle it but most dogs are really frightened and very disturbed by the huge, inconsistent noises and lights, causing some of them to go through windows or cause themselves harm. She says if you’re leaving your dog at home while you attend a fireworks show, keep them in an internal room, if possible, and make sure the animal has been walked before you go. Also, keep a radio or TV on to distract them from the noises.
Dogs have a much higher sense of hearing, Sunday notes, so the loud squeals, screeches and booms of fireworks can really spook a canine. If people in the neighborhood are already setting off fireworks, work with your dog, she says, "Jolly them, be happy, grab a ball, grab some treats, make it so it’s no big deal, because if you worry about it or you console the dog, you can actually make the dog feel like this is something to be frightened about and we really don’t want to give them that impression."
While making certain your dog is wearing proper identification is always important, Sunday says it’s vital now, since the animal could take off running because of fear. "They’ll bolt through doors, go through screens, things that they wouldn’t normally do, so make sure you have your collar and tags on your dog," she says, in addition to having a microchip implanted, and have those numbers handy. Sunday says dogs have been found, miles away, after running away overnight.