4th of July is right around the corner and you’re probably already thinking about where you will celebrate and with whom. But, have you stopped to consider how your dog will react to the fireworks? Fireworks are often not much fun for our dogs. Whether this is your dog’s first 4th of July, or his tenth, you should be aware of how your dog will react to the possibly perceived bedlam.
Being in tune with your dog’s behaviors in response to all stimuli is very important especially when it’s possible that your dog may display some unusual or unwanted behaviors.
- Seeking shelter
- Destruction of property
- Fight or flight
- Shaking or trembling
- Eating or drinking excessively or not at all
Sounds like there’s the potential for a very stressful 4th of July, doesn’t it? There are things you can do to help your faithful companion should he display any signs of fear or anxiety. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s not a one size fits all remedy so buckle up your bootstraps and get ready as it just might be a wild ride.
What can I do?
- Keep your dog indoors. Remember, dogs will often try to flee a scary situation. It’s not wise to leave your dog outside in the midst of fireworks. He won’t understand what’s going on and might try to run away. If your dog needs to go out while the fireworks are going off, you must leash him even if you have a fenced yard. You’d be surprised at just how high your dog can jump when he’s scared. That old dog of yours just might be able to scale the fence.
- Try to drown out the lights and noise. Put your dog in a room with the blinds and curtains drawn. Try putting on a tv or loud fan to drown out the noise. There are also studies that indicate the power of music in soothing a stressed out dog. Think ahead and look into that now.
- Talk to your veterinarian about medicinal options. There are many over the counter and prescription medications that may be an option for your dog. Melatonin and pheromones are popular nonprescription choices but some dogs may need to be sedated but that’s not always an option for all dogs due to age, health or other factors. The more natural the better, of course.
- Consider a pressure vest. These vests apply constant pressure to your dog’s chest or torso area, which results in reduced anxiety. The Thundershirt is a very popular option. Just prepare ahead of time and see how your dog reacts. It may take him some time to get used to wearing it.
- Provide supervision to your dog. Don’t leave your dog home alone if you know he will be really stressed out. It’s not fair to him. You are his comforter and protector. If you can’t stay home, leave him with a trusted family member or a pet sitter. Sending him to a kennel is not the best idea because he will be just as freaked out there, if not more so.
It’s hard to determine how your dog might respond to the sights and sounds this 4TH of July but be prepared for him to respond unfavorably. Being prepared will help ease his anxiety and keep him safe. Be sure that your dog’ has up to date id tags and is microchipped. This will ensure a speedy return to you should he run away from home.