Pointers for keeping your dog calm during fireworks this Fourth of July.
While many of us enjoy fireworks and spending time with our family celebrating our nation’s independence, most of our canine companions find them loud and very scary. Below you will find some pointers to help your furry friend during the Fourth of July.
4th of July Stress Reducing Tips for your Dog
- First and foremost, make sure your pet is wearing updated ID tags on their collar. If you have moved or changed phone numbers, consider purchasing new tags in the event your furry friend slips away. This way they are much more likely to make their way back to you and your family
- Start now and work on desensitizing your dog. You can continue this throughout the year to help next year. Play videos / recordings of fireworks and thunderstorms. While playing these at low volumes, play with your dog. Give them great treats and keep them distracted. You can slowly increase the volume as they become accustomed to the noise. Make sure not to reward the anxiety and fear behavior with treats. If they become nervous, back off on the noise level or stop and try again at a lower intensity later.
- Give them a safe spot. Most dogs enjoy burrowing or hiding during the events that they find scary. Make sure they have a spot that is safe and in a protected location. If they are crate trained, try placing their crate in a quiet location with no windows, such as closet. Give them extra bedding and offer interactive food toys in the crate. Filling a KONG or West Paw toy with peanut butter or frozen broth is a great distraction. Consider buying them a new toy to attract their interest.
- Consider a Thundershirt. This is a tight fitting shirt that provides comfort to your pet through pressure. Ask any Dee-O-Gee BZN staff member to show you the Thundershirts when you visit – they work great!
- Leave music or the TV on at a louder volume to mute out some of the noise of the fireworks.
- Try calming supplements. Those containing melatonin, lavender, CBD oil or tryptophan often work well. At Dee-O-Gee BZN, we offer several options of supplements: including Hemp Calming chews and Tranquility blend tincture. For some severe dogs, these supplements may not be enough and you may need to contact your veterinarian for anxiety medication. Most of the time supplements can be used in addition to the medication to lower the dose of medication needed by your pet. Always tell your veterinarian about any supplements you are giving your pet.
- Tire them out. Go out earlier in the day with your furry friend and go for a long hike or walk. If they are very tired, they will be less likely to respond to the noise.
- Stay home if you can. You are an important part of your pet’s life and they are most comfortable when you are around. If you have a pet that is fearful of the fireworks consider bypassing the party and stay home and hang out with your “best friend”. They do so much for you, you can return the favor by being there for them when they need you most.
- If you do stay home, play games and interact with them to keep them distracted. Teach them a new trick or work on an old one to keep their mind busy.
PRO TIP for reducing anxiety in your dog:
Try diffusing lavender essential oils in the room your pets are in. You can also apply lavender to a Thundershirt.