It's an ongoing struggle that I was reminded of just this past week... the struggle to keep my Thunder Buddy, Lexi, calm during storms and around fireworks.  My $400 vet bill is all the reminding I need to keep her on lockdown around the 4th of July.

My Thunder Buddy stays at my side during the 4th of July work obligations. Look for Lexi in the Belton 4th of July parade.

During our family beach trip we left Lexi under the care of one of my coworkers.  The plan was to let her out of her cage in the morning and put her back in the evening.  That plan would have worked perfectly if it wouldn't have been for the daytime storms.  Who would've thought we'd have insane storms this late in June?

During one particular storm, Lexi escaped the backyard (as usual) and went crazy (as usual).  Without being able to track where she went, I can only assume she went looking for a friend.  This particular friend was infested with fleas and was kind enough to share with Lexi.  As a result, she chewed herself raw on her hind legs, her back and on her belly.  These hot spots looked terrible, and a trip to the vet revealed a staph infection, ear infection and allergic reaction to flea bites.  The resulting treatment added up to nearly $400.

The one thing I should've bought from the vet is the doggie valium.  I just couldn't swing it after her whirlwind trip cost me a full truck payment.  That means I'll have to be very diligent over the holiday weekend and not leave her at home at any point in time alone.  During her recent thunder romp she also did more damage to the wood surrounding our front door.  That, alone, should push the damage she's done to the house because of loud noises up past $2,000 (and counting).

There are plenty of websites to visit for more information on protecting your pets over the 4th of July weekend.  From my personal experience of what works and what doesn't, here are my five biggest tips to avoiding disaster.



  • 1

    Keep Pets Indoors at All Times

    The 4th of July is the busiest day of the year for animal control.  Loud noises, combined with an unattended pet, can lead to a search-and-rescue mission later.  If you absolutely have to leave the house without your Thunder Buddy, make sure they're inside.  My girl is very close to busting through, and out of, her latest metal cage.  I've found that placing a blanket over the cage, moving the cage to a center room in the house, and turning on the TV or radio (preferably on US 105) could help drown out some of the noise.  Just make sure you don't leave it on a war movie or on live network coverage of the DC fireworks display.

  • 2

    Take Precautions for Worst-Case-Scenario

    We don't want to ever think of the possibility of our pet actually escaping, but if it DOES happen, be prepared.  Make sure you pets' tags and vaccinations are up to date with correct contact info and vet info.  It might be too late this time around, but having your pet microchipped is a huge help to animal control, should your Thunder Buddy be found wandering the 'hood.

  • 3

    Don't Do Your Pet Any "Favors"

    Don't think you'll calm your Thunder Buddy's nerves the same way you calmed your nerves before your first date back in high school.  Alcohol can kill your pets!!  If not kill, the alcohol will certainly lead to poor decision-making, whoring around and thinking Jack in the Box tastes delicious.

  • 4

    Start Out the Day With Some Exercise

    It may be the last thing you want to do on the morning of a day off, but starting off the 4th with a healthy dose of exercise should help to eliminate some of the energy that could otherwise be used to do things like dig under fences, break out of cages and run at full speed for hours once free.  Like Ben Franklin once said, "Fatigue is the best pillow".

  • 5

    Don't Give the Dog a "Dog"

    They may think they want what's left on your plate, but that's why they're animals and we're humans... we use our brains and not our noses.  Don't give into pooch-peer-pressure and feed your dog food from the table.  Just about everything on that plate is harmful to your dog, and nothing compounds the problems associated with a nervous pet on the 4th like a pet with a nervous belly full of stuff they're not used to eating.  The 5th of July could be a day with cleaning the vomit and diarrhea out of your new carpet.