This could be the ultimate happy ending story for a dog scared of fireworks and it serves as a lesson to all dog owners.
During a fireworks display in Union Beach on Sunday night, a pet dog was so frightened by the noise that he jumped into Raritan Bay and swam a mile and a half and had to be rescued.
Caiden is a 10-year-old Siberian Husky who “was in distress after becoming separated from his owner”, according to the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s officers Kasey Collins and Michael Forgione fanned out in a boat and pulled the frightened animal out of the water.
You never know how a dog might react to fireworks. I’ve had dogs that were fine one year and then traumatized the next year. But there are a few simple things you can do to keep them calm and safe during these celebrations.
Ways to keep your dog safe and calm during fireworks
leave them at home
The most obvious thing? Don’t bring them. You’d be amazed how many people bring their dogs to the sensory overload of a public fireworks display only to be shocked when the dog goes into an anxious breakdown or outright runs away.
In case your dog does run away, protect him in advance by making sure he has a microchip and a GPS device.
Give them a “cave”
Creating a safe rhythm in your home goes a long way. Think in terms of replicating a cave using an interior windowless closet or their own hidden dog crate somewhere dark and cozy.
My dog Finn was crate trained and he loves his crate to this day, using it as his own personal room.
Walk ’em, walk ’em, walk ’em. A long, hard walk before the fireworks start later at night can exercise your dog and wear him out in a healthy way so he’ll naturally be calmer when the booms come.
Desensitization can go a long way. Start by playing the fireworks sounds at low volume. Loud enough for them to hear but quiet enough for them not to be overwhelmed.
Since they tolerate noise, give them treats so that they mentally associate something good with the unpleasant sound.
White noise can go a long way. A white noise machine can muffle explosions just enough to dampen the effect. If you don’t have a white noise machine, all constant sound like leaving a TV on.
Ask a veterinarian
Talk to your veterinarian about medication. Sure, it might sound silly, but they now have things dogs can benefit from. If you’re in doubt, they even make over-the-counter calming dog treats now.
Another therapeutic idea is a pressure vest for anxiety. It may be the only day of the year when they would like to have one, but the pressure on their body calms a dog down like a hug from you.
The views expressed in the above post are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey
A trip to New Jersey doesn’t have to be just the beach. Our state has incredible trails, waterfalls and lakes to enjoy.
From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to New Jersey’s hidden gems, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it’s a great workout.
If you descend and encounter an uphill hiker, pull to the side and give the uphill hiker some space. An uphill hiker has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.
Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless marked as an official trail, avoid them. Going off the trail, you risk damaging the ecosystems around the trail, the plants and wildlife that live there.
You also don’t want to disturb any wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.
Cyclists must yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also give in to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you’ll encounter on New Jersey trails.
If you plan to take your dog on your hike, they must be on a leash and be sure to clean up all pet waste.
Finally, pay attention to the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it’s probably best to save your hike for another day.
I asked our listeners for their suggestions on the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: