Fireworks & Pets: Tips for a Low-Stress Holiday

By Molly Kenefick, Doggy Lama Pet Care, Dog walking company in Oakland, California
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Independence Day is just around the corner, and while we humans may love a good fireworks display, our dogs (and other pets, too) may feel as if those loud, unpredictable sounds signal the coming of the end of the world. Our dogs may suddenly do things we’ve never known them to do, but with a little preparation and forethought, we can make our nation’s birthday a relatively safe, easy, and relaxing holiday for us and our pets. Here are some tips to help ensure you and your dog have a low-stress holiday:

  • Never take your dog to a firework display.
  • If at all possible, be home with your dog when you think fireworks will be going off. No one wants to be alone when they’re afraid.
  • If you can’t stay home with your dog when fireworks are scheduled to go off, bring him inside. If your dog is terrified, he may be able to perform amazing feats of strength and agility—he may climb a fence you didn’t think he could climb, or dig underneath one when he’s never shown interest in digging before. Don’t take that chance.
  • To help drown out the sound of the fireworks, put on a classical music radio station, which is much more soothing than television. Start to leave that station on now when you go out—before the holiday—so that he gets used to it.
  • Make sure you leave plenty of water out. A stressed-out dog needs to drink extra water to stay cool.
  • Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise on the days around the fourth of July—a tired dog will be less anxious than one with plenty of energy and no way to express it.
  • Take your evening walk a bit earlier (before it gets dark)—you’ll be less likely to be caught outside your home or yard when there are fireworks going off in your neighbor’s backyard.
  • If your dog has an anxiety attack because of fireworks, do not soothe and comfort your dog. That sounds cruel, but rewarding an anxious animal with lots of touch and love is just reinforcing anxious behavior. It’s better to be cheerful and seem in control—that encourages your dog to think that whatever is happening is not a big deal.
  • Make sure your dog is wearing his identification at all times. Some owners remove collars when their dog is in the house. That’s usually fine to do, but a terrified dog may uncharacteristically bolt out the door when given an opportunity to do so. If your dog ends up on the street or in the pound, you want him to be wearing his identification. (Pets should be micro-chipped as well as wearing up-to-date identification tags.)
  • Have some Bach’s Rescue Remedy on hand. This is a safe, anti-anxiety flower remedy. Put a few drops in his water twice a day. (If possible, give your pets filtered water—an inexpensive Brita water filter is fine. Make sure you wash out pet food and water bowls at least every other day to reduce bacterial growth.) Another popular holistic remedy is a plug-in product, “Comfort Zone with Dog Appeasing Pheromone,” or D.A.P., said to reduce stress-related behavior.
  • Make your dog a cozy dark den to hide away in. Some dogs will follow their owners around the house and others will need to hide away. Put a blanket and a favorite toy in a closet in case your dog falls into the latter category.
  • If you’re home with your dog when fireworks are going off, you can try to entertain and distract your dog. You might break out the treat-filled Kong, the extra-special toys, or play hide-and-go-seek.
  • If you know a dog very well who isn’t afraid of fireworks, schedule an inside-at-night sleepover play-date with him. Your dog will get the message from the other dog that it’s not a big deal, and, coupled with your calm and confident behavior, will be much happier than otherwise. (You should only do this with a dog with whom you already have a very solid relationship with.)

Keep in mind that our neighbors and surrounding towns may be setting off fireworks in the days leading up to the Fourth of July and past that date. For that reason, pet-owners need to be vigilant for the days and nights surrounding the holiday.

Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful and safe holiday!

Considering Dog Insurance? Think About Pet Assure

#1 Pet Insurance Alternative

Have you been thinking about getting pet insurance for your dog (or maybe even your cat)? If you’ve been looking at pet or dog insurance plans, you might want to think about Pet Assure. With, it’s easy to save money on the bills that can easily pile up as a result of owning a dog.

According to the Pet Assure website, it’s simple to save money:

Present your Pet Assure membership card to any participating vet and you will receive 25% off your bill right at vet’s office on all of the following services:

  • Office Visit & Exams
  • All Shots
  • Any Elective Procedure (e.g., dental care)
  • Any Surgery (e.g., spaying & neutering)
  • Hospitalization (in Network)
  • and more!

With no annual usage limit, there is no concern that coverage may run out. No pet health questions asked, as every member will receive the same coverage on the above services, regardless of health issues that exist or that may arise in the future. There is no waiting period, so sign up now to begin saving!”

What other programs can make the same offer for your pet? If you are looking for an insurance type of product, you should check out and review Pet Assure.

Of course it’s important to check out all of the terms and conditions and other disclaimers that come with programs like this before deciding for yourself and your pet.

Marketing Tip for Dog Walkers: YouTube

Make a MovieWhile everyone loves “word of mouth” advertising where friends refer friends to their service providers, sometimes this isn’t possible for dog walkers.  There are a number of ways dog walkers are able to market their services to dog owners to supplement referrals or when referrals aren’t as robust as necessary to provide enough business for a person.

Creating YouTube videos is a great way for a dog walker or dog walking company to advertise. Videos allow dog owners to get a personal connection to the dog walker even before they meet, helping to establish a bond and trust before a connection is made.

In the video(s), I recommend that the dog walker either teach something helpful or just offer an introduction to give visitors an idea about who the dog walker is and what experience he or she has. While it’s smart to convey the same message on a website, it’s much more powerful to do it over video. Not only will dog owners appreciate the effort, but Google, Yahoo, and Bing will love it and move it to the video section, giving more exposure.

When a dog walker does create a video, he or she should use proper tags, with keywords that will benefit the dog walker. For example, a New York City dog walker should use tags like “new york city dog walker,” “nyc dog walking,” “manhattan dog walker,” “dog walker on the upper west side.”

Handing Out Magnets at Unleashed by PETCO on the Upper West Side of New York City

Unleashed by PETCOA couple of weeks ago while walking Lucy, we walked by Unleashed by PETCO, a brand new store on New York City’s Upper West Side. Unleashed is owned and operated by the larger PETCO, and it offers tons of dog food, dog supplies, treats, and other pet supplies. On this first trip to Unleashed, Lucy was most interested in eating apple and cheddar frozen yogurt (for dogs) and socializing with the other dogs in the store.

On our way out of the store, we asked the manager if we could leave magnets by the register so dog owners and dog walkers would be able to learn more about our service. Instead of doing this, the manager suggested we come back that weekend and hand out magnets outside of the store during their grand opening celebration! Of course we said yes!!

The following Saturday, we set up a table with a huge sign in front of Unleashed, and we handed out several dozen (maybe more) magnets for people to put on their refrigerators. We let them know that has listings of dog walkers in New York as well as dog walkers from across the entire country. It was fun promoting to people in person rather than just online (which is VERY important).

We are always handing out magnets to people when we walk our dog, and we’re not shy about letting people know that can be helpful to them when they need to find a dog walker. We really appreciate the opportunity that Unleashed by Petco gave us, and we encourage you to visit stores like this that help small businesses succeed.  THANK YOU!