The repetitive loud noise of 4th of July fireworks can be frightening for animals, so much so that more dogs go missing around Independence Day than any other time of year.
TAPinto owners, editors, and reporters have learned how to help their rescue dogs get through the night and share their tips and tricks with readers across the state.
TAPinto Verona's Zoey and Myra. Zoey is a 7-year-old chocolate lab and really likes people and food of all kinds. She dislilkes thunder and fireworks. When storms or fireworks arise, Zoey heads for her dad's basement office to hide under his desk. Since this is clearly a comfort to her, she is left alone to settle in what's obviously a place she feels safe and just occasionally check on her.
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Her cohor, Myra is a 5-year-old yellow lab mix -- a true rescue dog she can be skittish sometimes, however when it comes to thunder and fireworks she's fierce. Though you can tell she's shaken, she barks like a champ to defend her house against the booming fireworks. A little attention and a cuddle is usually enough to settle her down.
TAPinto Warren's Summer loves people, animals, and all kinds of fun. Although she looks like a Golden, DNA tests show she’s part Golden, part Lab, part Old English Sheepdog, and part Corgie. She was rescued her as a puppy and her sibs are all shades... some all black, some black and white, and some look just like her but have blue eyes. She’s not really fearful but she's kept inside during fireworks with some favorite toys and snuggles with the family. She loves swimming, chasing balls, playing tug and frisbee and most often can be seen carrying something in her mouth, either soft toys or water bottles.
TAPinto Summit's Ace does not like his birthday. Ace was recscued seven years ago and his people made the silly error of making his birthdate July 4, knowing it was sometime in early July and figuring the nation would celebrate him. Turns out to be his least favorite day of the year becasueof fireworks.
He feels safest under the kitchen table or scrunched up next to his person's hip, with a hand resting on him. He tried a thundershirt but it didn't help. Having his favorite rooster toy tucked under his head helps, too.
TAPinto Nutley's Ricardo Joachim is usually a tough guy. He'll growl at the UPS truck and bark at planes until they fly away. Fireworks terrify him, to the point that all he wants to do is escape. During fireworks season he spends every evening swaddled in the arms of family members like a newborn human. He's from the Montclair Animal Shelter and loves oatmeal in the morning.
Other TAPinto editors, both in NJ and across the country shared additional tips to help deal with fireworks.
1. Walk and feed dogs early on the Fourth of July. Given the dogs the opportunity to take care of business well before the fireworks start and before neighborhood firecrackers start.
2. Run the air conditioner, turn on the kitchen fan, turn on the televisions, on different channels, to help create noise to help drown out some of the celebration noise.
3. Set up a "business area" so that if nature calls your dog doesn't have to go outside where the sounds will be louder.
4. If you need to go outside, use two leashes, one in each hand. A number of people shared stories of getting tripped up and losing grip of a leash because of fear.
5. Make sure all tags and identifcation is on the dog, even if it means duct taping something on your dog's collar. One freelancer shared how their dog bolted out the door when guests arrived in the evening.
6. Be ready with food distractoins. While over-feeding dogs is a serious issue, distractions like favorite treats may make a sressful situation better.