WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ)
The Fourth of July holiday weekend is upon us which means they'll be plenty of fireworks. While the explosions and colored lights may be fun and exciting for humans - they can be extremely stressful and terrifying for dogs.
More dogs run away on the Fourth of July than at any other time of the year.
It's normal and natural for dogs to be afraid of loud noises. The sounds trigger their nervous systems and they become anxious and afraid. Running away from noise is a survival instinct.
Experts say fireworks are a slightly different experience for dogs than other natural loud noises like thunder. Dogs can anticipate thunderstorms because of changes in the wind and barometric pressure. Fireworks are sudden, closer to the ground, and have a burning smell. Dogs have keen senses that make fireworks a more intense experience.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Bryan Wade, says a pet owner's first line of defense this Fourth of July is identification.
“The main thing that I like to stress is that they are more apt to get out of the fence or out of the enclosure or bolt out the front door. So you definitely want to have tags on them with your phone number.”
They also recommend a microchip that can be planted under the skin. It's a simple injection so that if your dog ends up at a shelter or vet they can scan them and get them back home. He says making sure pets don't get out of the yard is priority.
“Make sure the fences are secure if you have guests over that are coming in and out of the gate for a cookout.”
Keeping your pup as calm as possible during the fireworks is key.
“Keep them in a comfortable quiet environment that they are used to and have some radio or TV background - ambient noise going on that insulates that.”
These are the dog days of summer and we can expect some high temperatures this weekend. The threat of dehydration and heat stroke for dogs is very real. Make sure animals have plenty of fresh clean water at all times and carry portable water bowls on trips and walks.
Signs of dehydration and heat stroke include lethargy, decreased urination and skin elasticity, dry gums, refusal to eat, sunken eyes and panting.
Another thing to be mindful of this summer is the hot pavement. Keep dogs off pavement in direct sunlight. Black asphalt can get extremely hot and burn a dog’s paws. Think about it like this - if you wouldn't walk barefoot on a surface due to the heat - chances are it's too hot for your dog.
Dr. Wade says never ever leave your dog in the car in the summer or anytime it's above 65 degrees. Not even just to run into the store. It takes only 15 minutes for a dog to die in a hot car.