By Kristin Larson | For Sun-Times Media
Crowds and booming fireworks can be terrifying for many dogs — making the Fourth of July a potentially dangerous holiday for anxiety-ridden pets who may try to run away to escape the loud noises.
“The stress experienced by some dogs during fireworks (or even the recent severe storms) can trigger a flight response,” says Brenda Lang, owner of Green Dog Inc., a dog daycare and boarding facility in Ukranian Village. “Loud noises often make the dog want to leave the situation.”
During the holiday, Lang recommends owners are vigilant about safe walking gear. “A properly fitted harness will ensure your dog cannot slip out of a collar when you’re out walking,” she says, adding to double check that your dog’s collar has its ID tags securely in place.
Having a backyard party? Think twice before inviting Fido. “Those lucky enough to have a yard need to be aware that their dog may try to escape the yard if frightened,” Lang says. “So it’s best to keep them on a leash to minimize that risk.”
It might be smart to keep your dog at home to ensure their safety. A snug-fitting shirt, such as ThunderShirt, ($39.99) is designed to calm nerves and provide comfort in stressful situations.
“Aromatherapy and soothing music may also help,” Lang says. “Special treats or chews or a peanut butter Kong can also help keep them occupied.”
Other Fourth of July dog safety tips, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, include not leaving alcoholic beverages unattended (you don’t want a drunk Rover), keeping matches and lighter fluid out of your dog’s reach and not lighting any fireworks around your pet.
“Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets,” according to the ASPCA Fourth of July dog safety tips. “Resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Keep your little guys safe in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.”
Lisa rides in a wagon during the 2011 Fourth of July parade in Oak Park. | Allison Williams/For Sun-Times Media