We all have our traditional Fourth of July activities. They usually start with a flare as we fire up our grills for barbecues and end with a bang as fireworks displays light up our night skies.
Some take place right in our own backyards around a picnic table, and the weather here should cooperate. Friday’s weather should hold at partly cloudy with temperatures in the mid-70s, giving way to mostly clear skies and upper 40s tonight, says the National Weather Service in Cleveland.
The rest of the weekend is looking good, too, with Saturday mostly sunny and in the upper 70s. Saturday night is predicted clear and in the mid-50s, and Sunday will be partly sunny and in the mid-80s.
Some of our activities take place at a family gathering after a five-hour car ride and a tank of gas. How much is it going to cost us to get there? About $3.68 per gallon, AAA was predicting.
Wherever we are, our kids (and all of us who’ve never grown up) are likely going to want to try out Phantom Fireworks’ latest toy. What is the newest and best seller this year? Let’s make some noise!
But please, not in front of your dog. He’s usually right there with you, game for whatever activities you’ve got going. The Fourth of July is different, however. It sends many dogs running for cover, and there are ways to help them through it.
Many a dog is content to stash himself under the picnic table to wait for morsels of Fourth of July barbecue, dropped or offered. But once the food is put away and the kids break out the backyard fireworks, the noise will cause him nothing but fear and stress. This is particularly true in older dogs, said Dr. Wendy Jenkins, a veterinarian with Town & Country Veterinary Hospital in Howland.
“Stress from fireworks will get worse each year,” she said.
There are ways to help, she said, and some products to try.
She recommends the Thundershirt, calming scents or colors, or if necessary, anti-anxiety medication — but not sedatives. “They’re still scared, they just can’t respond,” she said.
“If they want to go into a closet or a tub, that’s OK,” she said.
“Be positive — give treats when they’re being calm,” she added.
Never “flood” a dog, she said — which means expose him to the noise so intensely that it’s overwhelming in the hopes you’ll get him used to it. That won’t work.
Another tried-and-true trick: Put the dog in a room and turn up the air conditioner or TV so it can’t hear the fireworks.
Once the dog is safely tucked away, grab a blanket and get a good spot for the Fourth’s grand finale.
Get more tips in Friday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com