Every July we hear horror stories about dogs that suffer through the 4th of July. While us humans enjoy the excitement of controlled explosions in the sky, our beloved pets tend to think WWIII has broken out, and that we have lost our minds for cheering about it. So do yourself and your dog a favor this year, and follow a couple of these guidelines to help ease their anxiety.
Keep Them Inside:
A big mistake we see folks make is assuming their dog is okay with the loud noises of fireworks. While some dogs may be okay, it's really hard to know 100% one way or the other. If you are unlucky enough to find out the hard way, the last place you want to do it is outside. Since dogs have a knack for out running us bi-pedals, it's a sure bet that you won't catch them if they get spooked bad enough. This is why it's a good idea to keep your dog indoors for the later part of the day on the 4th and 24th of July.
The best practice, and something we do at Active K9, is to take you dog for an extended adventure either the day before or the morning of the 4th. Reducing their energy levels will help them to keep calm easier, which can make all the difference when the finale goes off. We then make sure everyone gets a potty break shortly before dusk, allowing you to get settled inside just before the celebrations get started.
Don't Leave Them Alone:
Have you ever noticed how much scarier a horror movie is when you are home all alone? Well, dog can have a tendancy to think that way about this crazy world we live in. If you aren't sure what kind of personality your dog has it is a good idea not to leave them alone for these holidays. Your fur baby might not be nervous at all while you are there, because they feel safe around you. But being home alone is a different story all together.
If you really are dead set on making out to your local fireworks show, do the responsible thing and look for a sitter ahead of time. While it might not be as calming without you there, your dog will still greatly appreciate not being alone.
Play White Noise:
As I'm sure you are aware, what typically makes dogs so sensitive to fireworks is their exceptional hearing. A quick and easy fix to help you pooch relax is to give them something else to focus on. Just having the TV or radio on for background noise can go a long way in making your dog more comfortable.
Pet Anxiety Products:
Some pups will definitely need more help than others in the keeping calm department. So much so that it can take more than a little white noise to keep them from worrying. Two great products that can really help are thundershirts or stress relief sprays.
Thundershirts offer a consistent and gentle pressure to your dogs torso, mimicking the affects of being cuddled. This gives your pet a sense of security that drastically helps them cope with the anxieties around them. You can pick up a thundershirt at most pet stores, or directly from thundershirt.com.
Stress relief sprays are another popular option to help calm down a worried pet. Using essential oils these sprays are non-harmful to your pets, and will help calm their nerves after just a few sprits. It is common to mist the front legs and chest, but can also be used on your dogs favorite bed to give them a safe place. At Active K9 we have personally used Nature's Embrace Stress Relief Spray, and can attest to it working quite well.