The 4th of July is many people's favorite holiday. We often spend it enjoying our time outside enjoying the summer weather, eating delicious food, and enjoying the company of our family and friends. But for our dogs, the 4th of July is often anything but fun--at least 40% of dogs have anxiety related to loud noises.
And this anxiety causes problems for humans as well as their dogs. Nearly 30% of lost dogs occur on the 4th of July, and the 5th is often the busiest day for shelters as they take in many of these lost dogs who ran off due to fear from all of the chaos of the day.
Some things you can do to prepare for the big day are make sure to ensure your dog has an up to date ID tag with their name and your contact information on it so if they were to get out and someone found them they would be able to easily contact you. You should also ensure your dog has a microchip and ensure your contact information is up to date with the microchip company. If you are unsure of your pet's microchip information, you can go to your vet and have them scan your pet's chip, then contact the microchip company to make sure that the contact information they have on file is correct.
A tired dog is a happy dog. Make sure to take advantage of the firework-free daytime to get your dog nice and tired. Take them for a walk or to the dog park to get them nice and tired so they don't have extra pent up energy to increase their anxiety in the evening.
Once the sun goes down and the fireworks begin, make sure to keep your dog inside with curtains drawn and the windows and doors shut. This will minimize any light and sound getting inside and hopefully keep your dog's anxiety to a minimum. You can also put on white noise or calming music-- Through A Dog's Ear is music specifically made for dogs and can help reduce their anxiety. You also want to make sure your dog has a "den" they can retreat to. If they are crate trained, make sure their crate is accessible to them. If not, create a space for them that they are comfortable in. You can make it even more comforting to them by placing blankets, their favorite toys, or even an item of your clothing that smells like you. Don't try to force your dog out of their safe space, or into it. Allow them to find the space they feel safest.
Another method that can help take your dog's mind off of the anxiety they feel around fireworks is by giving them a distraction. Give them a new toy or treat that has a really high value for them. Maybe it's a delicious meaty bone if your dog is more food motivated, or maybe it's a new toy that has all of their favorite features if they're more play motivated. Whatever it is, give them something they love to take their mind off of their fear!
Many dog owners find success with a Thundershirt. It is a tight wrap style shirt you put on your dog that applies gentle pressure to help reduce anxiety (similar to a weighted blanket for humans). It can also be used for many other types of anxiety like storms and car travel.
Your dog's nose is very powerful, and you can use it to help reduce their anxiety. There are pheromone sprays that can mimic anxiety-reducing pheromones and help your dog relax. They come in sprays, plug-ins, and even collars that your dog can wear. You can also use essential oils, but be careful--not just any oils are safe for your pets. Lavender and chamomile essential oils are safe to diffuse and can help calm your dog's anxieties.
CBD Research shows that CBD oil interacts with your dog's naturally occurring endocannabanoid system to help reduce anxiety. Many pet owners report great results for anxiety as well as pain control, seizures, and more. Some suggest that CBD has better results with continued daily use, but can also be used as a one-off on a particularly anxious day and can have mildly sedative effects.
If all else fails and your dog is just terrified or you live in an area that has a lot of fireworks nearby, you may want to talk to your vet about medication options that include sedation or prescription anxiety medications
Hopefully these tips allow you and your dog to enjoy the 4th of July with reduced anxiety this year!
Comments will be approved before showing up.