By Dr. Chris Pitts, RVT, of Broadway Animal Hospital
Humans love the beauty of a good fireworks show. I am not sure if your dog loves the beauty of a good fireworks display, but I know he does NOT appreciate the noise.
Your dog's sense of hearing is one of his best strengths, but when it comes to those glorious loud kabooms on the fourth of July, his hearing is his greatest foe. To him, those explosions sound like a 747 landed in the front yard, and may send him hiding under the bed, urinating on the floor or chewing up the doorframe to escape.
If you feel your dog has firework anxiety, call your veterinarian. There are a variety of medications that can calm your dog's brain and make him less terrified during the rocket's red glare. Keeping your dog indoors with you during firework time not only keeps things a little quieter for him, but also lessens the opportunity to run away if he panics and leaps the fence or digs his way out of the yard.
On this vein, if you are even the least bit concerned that your dog may take off, make sure he is microchipped, and is wearing a collar with an identification tag that has your current contact information. This goes for the microchip too. I cannot tell you how many times we have scanned microchips at the pet hospital only to find that the owner moved or changed phone numbers and has not updated his information.
I have had a few clients who swear that Thunder Shirts really help their dogs. However, the majority of patients that we see get the most benefits from chemical assistance to get them through the terrors of a good Fourth of July spectacle. This may be because the dogs that we see are the most extreme cases, ie, cases that owners have already tried various home remedies upon to no avail.
So get Fido Fourth of July Fit; if he cannot tolerate the noise, get him good identification, be prepared to stay in with him, and contact your veterinarian at least a week prior to the Fourth so you can try out the medication Fido may be prescribed and see how it affects him.