As Independence Day approaches, millions of Americans will be celebrating with fireworks, barbecues, and gatherings. While these festivities can be enjoyable for us, they can pose serious risks to our furry friends. As a responsible pet owner, it's crucial to understand the potential dangers and take necessary precautions to keep your pets safe and calm during this festive occasion.
Fireworks and Their Impact on Pets:
Fireworks can be a source of fear and anxiety for many pets due to their loud noises, bright lights, and unexpected explosions. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), July 4th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters due to the number of lost pets frightened by fireworks. In fact, statistics show that animal control officials across the United States report a 30-60% increase in lost pets during the holiday period.
Supplements and Calming Aids:
1. CBD: Cannabidiol (CBD) has gained popularity for its potential calming effects on pets. Human-grade CBD products can be safe for dogs as long as they are specifically formulated for pets and contain dog-safe ingredients. One recommended product is "Grounded" by Tonic Vibes, a local and sustainable hemp grower in New York State. The starting dose for dogs is typically 1mg of CBD per 5 lbs of body weight. Here's a chart with starting doses for dogs of varying weights:
| Dog Weight (lbs) | CBD Dosage (mg) | Drops of "Grounded"
| 10 | 2 | 2 drops
| 20 | 4 | 4 drops
| 30 | 6 | 6 drops
| 40 | 8 | 8 drops
| 50 | 10 | 10 drops
| 60 | 12 | 12 drops
Please note that these are starting doses, and it's important to consult with your veterinarian for precise dosing instructions.
2. Melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced in the body that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles. It has been used to alleviate anxiety and promote relaxation in pets. There are plenty of calming supplements developed for pets with melatonin. We recommended trying "Quiet Moments" from Naturvet.
3. The Thundershirt: The Thundershirt is a popular tool for calming both dogs and cats during fireworks and other stressful situations. This snug-fitting garment provides gentle and constant pressure, which helps pets feel safer and more secure. The pressure mimics the sensation of being hugged or swaddled, promoting a sense of calmness. Consider using a Thundershirt for your pet during fireworks displays or other anxiety-inducing events.
4. White Noise and Sound Machines: To help block out the sounds of fireworks, consider using white noise machines or sound machines in your home. These devices can create a constant background noise that helps mask the sudden explosions and loud bangs. Set up a designated safe space for your pet with the sound machine to create a more calming and comforting environment for them during the celebrations.
BBQ Food Hazards:
While we enjoy indulging in delicious BBQ foods during Independence Day celebrations, it's important to be aware of the hazards certain foods can pose to our pets. One common BBQ food that is toxic to dogs is onions. Onions, found in sauces, marinades and seasonings, contain compounds that can cause damage to their red blood cells and lead to anemia. Make sure your pets do not consume any onions or dishes that contain them. Keep BBQ foods safely out of reach.
Many pets become scared and may attempt to escape during fireworks. Here are some additional safety precautions that can prevent the tragedy of a lost pet:
1. Secure Harnesses and Leashes: Before taking your pet for a walk or allowing them outside, ensure that their harnesses and leashes are properly secured. This will prevent any sudden escapes or attempts to run away when they are frightened by fireworks. Additionally, make sure your pets have collars with legible ID tags and are microchipped, providing a way to identify them if they do happen to get lost.
2. Secure Windows: Fireworks can be loud and startling for pets. Keep your windows securely closed during firework displays to prevent your pet from getting scared and attempting to escape through an open window. Double-check that windows are properly latched and consider using curtains or blinds to help minimize the sound and visual stimuli.
3. Skip Off-Leash Activities: Even if you have a fenced-in yard, it's important to keep your dog on a leash during firework celebrations. The loud noises and heightened anxiety can lead some dogs to become extremely motivated to escape. Even if they never have before, they may jump over high fences. Do not take your dog to a dog run, and do not take your dog off-leash, no matter how well trained they are.
By following these additional safety precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of your pet becoming lost or injured during July 4th celebrations. Enjoy the festivities while ensuring a safe and comfortable environment for your pets. *We do not offer medical advice. Please consult your vet before making any medical decisions for your pet.
- American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA): https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/july-4-safety
-American Kennel Club (AKC): https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/does-cbd-work-for-dogs/ -Canine Journal: https://www.caninejournal.com/cbd-dosage-for-dogs/
-Boulder Holistic Vet :https://boulderholisticvet.com/cbd-dosing-dogs/