Many dog owners dread July 4th, for their dog’s sake. The loud noises can make dogs nervous and even fearful. Keeping your dog calm can be difficult. There are some simple things to make sure your dog feels safe and secure over the holiday.
If you’ve read our article on what to do if your dog is afraid of thunder, many of the same ideas apply. If you haven’t already, you may want to read it.
Keeping Your Dog Calm
- The best solution, if you can afford it, is to board your dog on July 4th, preferably in an area where there won’t be fireworks. We usually take our pet to the PetSmart PetHotel where she enjoys a quiet, carefree overnight stay.
- The ideal long-term solution is desensitization. There are commercially available cds to desensitize your dog to loud noises.
- The thundershirt is another good solution that will give your dog a feeling of reassurance.
- Give your plenty of exercise and opportunities to do their business before fireworks start, so you can keep them inside.
- Be sure to have a “safe place” your dog can retreat to if they become too nervous. Something dark and den-like, perhaps a crate with a blanket on top, would be ideal.
- Keep windows, curtains/blinds, and doors closed to minimize the sound getting into your home.
- Try to drown out the sound of fireworks with music, the tv, the white noise of air conditioning or fans, or other soothing sounds.
- Keep your dog occupied with play time. If need be, add treats to the mix to keep their focus on fun and not on fear.
- As a last resort, you can sedate your dog. Talk to your vet about alternatives like benadryl or other medications for keeping your dog calm.
Whatever you do, resist the temptation to coddle your dog if they come running to you. It just reinforces their feelings of fear.
Be sure to keep your dog’s collar on to make sure they can be brought back to you should they somehow escape. Microchipping your pet would also be an excellent idea. More pets are lost on July 4th than any other time of the year because they try to escape from the noise.
Have a happy and safe Fourth of July with your canine friends!
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