Keep your dog safe and sound this Fourth

By From page A4 | July 01, 2014

By Cayce Wallace

Most years following the city of Davis’ Fourth of July celebration, I usually am busy for hours and often the next several days trying to find or reunite found dogs with their owners.

Scared dogs are not safe dogs. Loose dogs are not safe dogs. Most of these dogs are running from the actual event where owners thought their dogs would be “fine with the sounds” with reports of “he has never run away like that before.” Many of the dogs have escaped from a fenced yard when left behind during the celebration.

What steps can you take to keep your dog safe and sound during this Fourth of July celebration?

* Do not bring your dog to the event.

* Do not leave your dog outside in the yard. Keep all pets inside, including cats. Leave fairly loud music on for your pets to help lessen the fireworks noise outside.

* If your dog is very sensitive, contact your vet for a possible medication to support your dog to take the edge off and stay home with your dog.

* Do not walk your dog during the fireworks.

In addition to keeping animals safe, it’s important to make sure people are safe around your animal. As a professional dog trainer in Davis for the past 20 years, July is my most busy month responding to dog bite-related issues. These bites most often are not reported as the dog usually bites someone who is forgiving and the dog is vaccinated or bites someone who knows the dog.

The following examples of dogs biting happened at this year’s Celebrate Davis! and are reprinted with the owners’ permission:

* A normally otherwise friendly golden-doodle bit a child on the hand when it became scared during the fireworks. The 9-year-old child tried to hold on to the leash when the dog started to run away.

* A normally otherwise friendly German shepherd who is deaf bit a passerby on the leg when the individual stepped on the dog in the dark. The dog is now reactive when people walk closely past it.

* A normally otherwise friendly Lab-golden retriever mix bit her owner and a friend during the fireworks when the dog “went berserk” and took off, winding her leash around several people, and bit them when they were restraining the dog.

Crowds and dogs often do not mix. Heat and stress and loud sounds on top of crowds with children and dogs are really just not safe. I am asking the city of Davis to please make firework events dog-free events for the safety of the participants. Sometimes we need to step in when people just cannot foresee their otherwise normally friendly dogs biting.

I am sure if you asked the advice of all professional who work with dogs if bringing them to fireworks was a safe idea, they would say it is not safe for the dog and it is not safe for the participants.

Let’s make this a fun and safe Fourth of July! If your pet does go missing or you would like to help missing, lost or found pets in Davis please join us at Pets Lost and Found Davis on Facebook. We have 1,400 members of amazing citizens who will help keep their eyes open!

— Cayce Wallace is a Davis resident.

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