Please share — maybe we can make a difference this year. It’s not just the pets: Combat veterans can also be affected by backyard fireworks

Pet Dish Fourth

I have always encouraged my readers to refrain from exploding loud fireworks on the Fourth of July, because of the adverse effect it has on pets, especially – dogs. But the noise, and vibrations, can also be upsetting to our combat veterans, many suffering from PTSD.

Everyone flies flags, praises our veterans and supports them, but then, on Independence Day, seem to forget what these men and women have been through. Please, if you are sincere about your support of the troops, reconsider those fireworks in the backyard.

Most communities have free firework displays. Go to them instead of spending money on store bought fireworks that may traumatize your military neighbors, and  the pets in the area. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money on some more stuff for the barbecue?

Getting away from the sound of fireworks isn’t easy, especially if you live near one of the public display sites. Before dusk, take your pups out, securely on a leash. I don’t care how well-behaved your pets are normally, please don’t take the chance – use a leash. One exploded firework can send the best dog running.

Once inside, set them up in their crate, or a quiet room in the house, soothing music on low (not the time for John Philip Sousa), and a favorite blanket or toy. If you are not going out, stay in the room with them. The company will be appreciated. Leave lights on. The flash from the fireworks will be less noticeable in a room that is lit.

Thundershirts may also help with some of the fear. These don’t work on all dogs. For us, it takes the edge off for Buddy, but it doesn’t completely calm him.

Do not take your dog to public displays. It isn’t good on their ears or their nerves.

If you are having a family barbecue, make sure your dog is safe and secure inside. Many dogs will dig out, or jump a fence, to “get away” from unfamiliar noises.

Should your dog get out, please check with local humane societies, and post on local animal rescue Facebook sites. As always, make sure your pets have up-to-date identification on them.

For our veterans, I hope I have dissuaded some of your neighbors from exploding fireworks. There are noise reduction headphones, which I have been told work fairly well, and I know some of you will go camping to get away from the celebrations.

Our thoughts are with you this weekend, and Thank You.

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