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  • Writer's pictureLisa Charity

5 Things to Help Your Dog this Canada Day

O Canada, the wonderful country we all have the privilege to live in. This year Canada will be celebrating her 152nd birthday. While we humans are excited to celebrate by getting together with friends and family and gather to enjoy our local firework shows our dogs have quite a different viewpoint and experience.

The majority of dogs are absolutely terrified by fireworks and Canada Day weekend is the busiest for Humane Societies due to the amount of missing dogs reported. So what can we as human do to keep our furry four legged friends happier and safe this weekend?

1. Exercise Fido
C.J enjoying his walk on the beautiful trails in the Laurier Woods Conservation Area

With the warm weather FINALLY arriving here in North Bay, most owners have adjusted to walking their dogs later in the day around dusk to avoid overheating and dogs burning their paws on the pavement. However, owners should consider taking their pups for a longer walk earlier in the evening this upcoming holiday weekend to avoid the possibility of a firework going off and spooking your dog and risk them running off and getting lost. A tired dog will not have as much energy to get as anxious about the loud sounds and bright lights that fireworks cause.

Also consider double leashing your dog while walking during the holiday weekend; one leash attached to the collar and another attached to a harness. Why? Because a terrified dog will do anything to get away from the source of their fear, including slipping their collar. Even if you think you have your dog's collar properly fitted with the allotted two finger tightness there is still a chance they will manage to slip their collar.

If you have a fenced in yard that you let your dog out in be sure to check your fence line to ensure there's no gaps due to broken fence that your pup could escape from and double check your gate to ensure it's locked before letting them out.

2. Leave them at home
C.J loves his crate and knows it's a place he can go to feel safe.

Often on the weekend we want to spend as much time with our dogs as possible, which often means bringing them with us on outings. While this can be great for dogs that enjoy being out in public and being social this upcoming holiday weekend is not ideal to bring your pup out. As previously mentioned, most dogs are terrified of fireworks due to the noise and the bright light, so bringing your dog to your town or city's fireworks show can be terrifying and potentially damaging to you dog. You also have the risk of them yanking the leash from your hands or slipping their collar and running away.

Leaving them in the car is not an option you should even consider as they could potentially harm themselves in the car trying to get away. Your dog will be much happier at home especially if you provide them with a spot they feel safe, such as a crate or a room.

3. White Noise and Enrichment
Kong toys come in a variety of durabilities. Always buy the toy suitable to your dog's chewing habits.

I've already mentioned the fear that the loud noise from fireworks can cause. Even if you are home to help calm your dog it can be helpful to have some white noise or other sounds playing to help mute the bangs from the fireworks. A quick search on Youtube for calming music for dogs or white noise produces a multitude of results.

Also consider providing some enrichment for your dog, whether you are home or not. Preparing some yummy stuffed Kong toys and freezing them to help keep your pup busy for longer. A simple and easy fill would be some of your dog's kibble and a couple of your dog's favourite treats (C.J loves Benny Bully's) all stuffed into a Kong Classic toy and sealed off with some pet friendly peanut butter (remember to check your peanut butter to ensure it doesn't contain Xylitol as this is highly poisonous to dogs)!

If your dog is a heavy chewer and is known to destroy toys consider making enrichment ice cubes by putting the previously mentioned ingredients in an ice cube tray instead and then letting your pup have some pupsicles to keep them distracted. A bit messier but still works!

4. Microchip and I.D

In the chance that your dog does escape it is important that people have a way of knowing how to get him or her back to you. This can be achieved through your dog wearing a collar or harness with identification tags that have your name and phone number on it (remember if you are travelling with your dog to have your cell phone number on the tag in case your dog escapes when you are out of town). Another failsafe against this would be to also have your dog microchipped. That way if your pup is found and brought into the Humane Society or a vet clinic he or she can be scanned and your information will be linked to his chip number, just be sure that the info the microchip company has is up to date!

5. Calming Equipment and/or Medication
Adaptil comes in a variety of products from collars to plug in diffusers.

Depending on your dog they may benefit from wearing a Thundershirt. Thundershirts work by providing pressure therapy, basically providing a long lasting hug. For many dogs this is very effective but for some it may need to be use in addition to pheromones such as Adaptil, which has Dog Appeasing Pheromones, the same pheromones a mother dog would give off to calm their puppies. If all else fails and your pet is still extremely anxious and scared it is best to speak to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medication or possibly a sedative to get your poor Fido through the holiday weekend.

Do you have any particular tips or tricks that you use with your dog to help them with fireworks? Let me know! I hope everyone has a safe and happy Canada Day long weekend!

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