From Hobo the Bearded Collie
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Welcome to my advice column.  Remember, I am only a dog like you.  My opinions are to the best of my knowledge but are only opinions, researched or what I feel is correct.. The writer of this page is not responsible for any actions the reader may take as a result of reading this column.  If that is OK with you, keep reading.  If not, then go back and enjoy the other pages. You can address your questions to Hobo by Email with the topic Hobo's Advice (click on my picture)  

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Current Column Fireworks - ouch! (And 4th of July tips)
The 4th of July may be an unpleasant time for your dog.  The booming of fireworks, even small one, can frighten your dog.  In some cases it may even cause hearing damage.  Dogs hearing can be 10 times more sensitive than a humans.

Dogs show their fear in many ways.  The most common is shaking, whining or hiding (even running away).  In extreme cases (or phobias) the dog may exhibit some really bizarre reactions through anxiety or fear.  Their urge to get away from the excitement may make them chew through doors or even crash through windows. 

So, what can you do?  Well, here are some tips:

Your pet should have identification in case they happen to run away when they hear a loud noice. This will help animal control or shelters reunite them with their owner.

Do not leave them outside alone. This is one time of the year that you need to be with them in case someone lights off fireworks. They could get loose. Even worse, if they are on a chain they may be in such a fear that they would injur themselves.

Keeps dogs away from Fireworks! Don't take them to fireworks displays.   This may be as simple as keeping them indoors in a secure area which is blocked from the sound.  Or you might consider seeing if the dog can be taken to another location (stary with a friend) if you are in a home near fireworks displays.  If staying home. consider closing the shades on windows and playing music loud enough to cover the sound.

Be prepared if you are taking your dog for a walk.  Make sure the dog is leashed.

Take an early walk, before it is dark, to make sure your dog can relieve itself before the action starts.  Some dogs won't go outside when fireworks are going off.

You may need to provide extra attention.  This might include the need to distract them.  Dome behaviorists feel that if you try to soothe them too much you may actually encourage the fearful behavior.  Your own actions might make the dog feel there is something wrong. It may be a better idea to play games with them or find some other normal activity that the dog enjoys.

If you know your dog has a problem with fireworks, and can not avoid the situation, consult a vet well before the event.  The vet may supply tranquilizers (which are difficult to get on the holiday)
Somes advice of putting a small amount of white mineral oil in your dog's ear.  This somehow mutes the noise.  Since these oils are often used in human ears, I can't see any harm in trying - but be sure you don't stick the applicator against your dog's ear drum or you may really end up with problems.

The holiday is full of other potential dangers for you dog. 

You may take your dog on picnics, where he/she could get into foods and scraps that can cause harm.  Watch out for Chicken bones for example.  Even worse, you dog may garbage pick and swallow metal foil used to wrap foods.

The hot summer and sun can be a source of harm.  Be sure to have plenty of water available, and a shading place for your best friend to cool down.  The sun can burn your dog just as easily as it burns you.  There are sun screens in grooming sprays - and you can use a child safe sun block on your dogs exposed skin areas (careful of the eyes).

Never leave you dog in a parked car.  Heat can quickly dehydrate them or cause heat stroke.

If you dog is not a swimmer, be careful - and watch them as you would a child.  Even experienced swimmers can get exhausted and drown.

Be sure to read our Hot Weather Tips (see index on main articles page) 

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