It’s time to celebrate Independence Day! This holiday is somewhat complex in the hearts of dog parents. On the one paw is the desire to revel in the nation’s most patriotic celebration, and particularly in the merriment of an extra-long weekend this year; but this also comes with deep empathy for pooches everywhere struggling with the booming percussion of fireworks. In acknowledgement of that heart tugging in two directions, this post offers a few suggestions of where to enjoy festivities in WNC for Independence Day, and a few tips and resources for calming a stressed pup.
Where’s the party?!
Romantic Asheville digital magazine is a fantastic resource not just for this weekend’s events, but for many different cultural opportunities and festivities around the area.
Here are several options for the upcoming holiday:
There is a South Asheville fireworks display at Lake Julian, which is about 15 minutes from Barkwells Asheville and 35 minutes from Barkwells Brevard.
Hendersonville (about 25 minutes from both Barkwells properties) is hosting a parade on July 3rd and a fireworks show with a free concert on July 4th (about 25 minutes from both Barkwells properties).
Brevard also has a fireworks show on the evening of 4th of July, just 10 minutes from Barkwells Brevard and about 30 minutes from Barkwells Asheville.
A bigger (small) city experience takes you to Pack Square in downtown Asheville for a gourmet takeout picnic from any of the city’s fabulous restaurants, and enjoyment of a DJ and fireworks for the evening.
For a unique experience, visit Cherokee about an hour and a half away from Barkwells for their annual Pow Wow celebration, with a full three-day festival of arts, dancing, food, crafts, and music.
The full list of 4th of July events can be found here.
Canine Calmness Clues
Whatever you choose to do this weekend, we do recommend leaving your pooches at home for fireworks shows. Here are some pup tips from the American Kennel Club for the 4th of July:
Keep your dog away from fireworks
Please consider leaving your dog inside (at Barkwells or at home) during the evening fireworks shows.
Make sure your pet has proper ID
This is great advice for any guests traveling with their dog to Barkwells, but especially relevant for this upcoming weekend. The American Kennel Club recommends going a step further to obtain a GPS device for your dog’s collar and to microchip your pets.
Create a soothing safe haven for your dog
Barkwells offers crates (available through the office), which may help create a den environment. We suggest a soothing white noise to leave on in the evenings, too: local Dog TV channel 562, or any of the classical music channels in the 800s are both options we use in the cabins for arriving guests.
If you’re vacationing at Barkwells during the upcoming holiday, you might consider grabbing some Doggie Ice Cream from the Hop or a bag of doggie treats (both of which can be purchased in the office) to help soothe your dogs.
Comfort your dog
The American Kennel Club article features advice from Jenn Stanley, certified behavior consultant and professional dog trainer based in North Carolina. ‘It’s important to remain calm and use a soothing, even tone [when soothing your dog].” She suggests using long, slow, firm strokes along the length of their body when petting them. “The one thing to avoid? Seeming frantic in any way, says Stanley. Rapidly saying, ‘It’s OK, it’s OK, it’s OK’ in a higher-than-average pitch may make your dog think that there really is something to fear. Try your best to remain calm and reassuring to help your canine companion.’”
Walk them before the fireworks start
For those who are staying this weekend, this advice should be no problem with meadows at your front gate to let them run for hours. This is great advice for those not at Barkwells, too – spending the afternoon on a walk or at a dog park is a great option – just double check their harness and collars before you head out.
Talk to your vet
According to the article, “If your pet’s anxiety is severe, consider booking an appointment with your vet so you can discuss a medication that could help soothe your dog’s anxiety” during the week leading up to the holiday.
Consider stocking up on herbal remedies or products for the weekend. Essential oils are a soothing option when used properly (they are meant to be placed in very small doses in the room, NOT to be ingested). Some dogs are sensitive to specific smells and supplements, though, so it’s crucial to research best practices and side effects for administration of different products. These articles from Whole Dog Journal and Dogs Naturally Magazine can offer more specific information.
If there is anything that we can help you with to maximize your (and your pet’s) experience over the 4th of July weekend, please call the office at 828-891-8288. Wherever you celebrate the weekend, we wish you a restful and pleasant Independence Day!