We get calls every year after the holiday asking for help to locate a lost dog. Dogs are frightened by the noise and escape from their fences and leashes. Please take time before the fireworks begin to check your fences to ensure there are no holes or breaks. If possible, bring your dog inside before the fireworks get started. Give them a safe place with soft music to drown out the noise. If they have a thunder shirt, put it on them ahead of time just in case.
If you want children to get along with dogs, teach youngsters what they should and should not do when around dogs. Following these simple rules could prevent dog bites.
What to tell children about dogs:
* Don't go near dogs you don't know.
* Don't tease a dog.
* Don't bother a dog when it is eating. Don't put your hands in or near his food bowl. Never try to take food from a dog. Never offer your dog a bite of your sandwich or food. He could bite you when all he is wanting is to share your food.
* Don't bother a dog when it is sleeping. They may think another dog is attacking them and could snap. Give them time to wake up and get oriented.
* Don't bother a dog when it is nursing or caring for puppies. Mother dogs act completely different when they have babies. Don't try to pick up her babies unless you have an adult supervising.
* Tell an adult about any dogs you see wandering around that don't belong there.
* Make sure an adult is with you when you play with a dog.
* Don't try to pet a dog before letting him smell you.
* Never put your face near a dog's face.
* Never run up to a strange dog and try to pet them.
* If you see dogs fighting, never try to get in the middle of the fight. Go find an adult.
* Never beat on a dog with toys or sticks.
What to tell children to do when a dog comes near them:
* Don't run or scream.
* Stand as still as you can. Pretend you are a tree with your hands up at your chest.
* Don't look directly at the dog's eyes...they may take this as a threat.
* If you fall or get knocked down, roll yourself up into a ball with your hands over your head and stay as still as possible.
* When the dog understands you are not going to hurt him, he will probably walk away. After the dog walks away, get up quietly and slowly move away from the area.
* If a dog bites you or someone you know, tell an adult as soon as possible.
Take time to go over these rules with your children. Make sure they understand why these rules are important. When you go to dog parks or pet stores, have your child ask the pet owner if it is safe to pet their dog. The more the children practice, the better prepared they will be when faced with a strange dog.