Independence Day is just around the corner. For many people, it’s time to get excited about the backyard barbeques, patriotism, and of course, fireworks. But if you are a dog owner, the fireworks are probably not your favorite part of the Fourth of July. Based on your pet’s response last year, you may actually be dreading this national holiday. Every year in the U.S., there are dogs everywhere who become terrified or anxious about the fireworks. While no one wants to see their pooch suffer, it can be more dangerous than just cowering in the corner until the festivities are over. Sometimes, animals will flee from their homes in response to fireworks, trying to run to safety but inadvertently putting themselves in much graver danger. If your dog is anxious around fireworks, it is in their best interest that you educate yourself before the Fourth so you can do everything you can to ease your pet’s anxiety and prevent the worst case scenario. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take now to help your pup on Independence Day.
Before the Fourth
Believe it or not, there are steps that you can take now that can help your dog have a happier Fourth of July. First, you can try conditioning your pup to be used to loud noises before the holiday rolls around. Use recordings of fireworks to get them used to the sound. Start by playing it at a low volume each night, and gradually increase it over time. Chances are, if your dog is already used to the sounds of fireworks before the Fourth, they won’t be nearly as anxious.
You may also want to bring your furry friend into Countryside Animal Hospital before the big day to see if there is a medication that may calm your pet. While you may be hesitant to medicate your dog, very anxious animals are safer when they are sedated for the fireworks. Come in and we can discuss with you the best option for your pooch. There are many different options, from very mild sleep aids to benzodiazepines. We can find a safe way to sedate your pet so they can feel comfortable during the Independence Day fireworks.
The Day Of
On the Fourth of July, it is a good idea to start your pet’s day off right by getting them a lot of exercise. Make sure that you take them on several long walks, or consider going on a hike or to the dog park. Tiring out your pup will go a long way towards making them calm during the fireworks because they will be too sleepy to make much of a fuss. Additionally, never bring your dog to watch the fireworks with the family; that is just asking for them to run away in a panic. Dogs should be kept securely inside with air conditioning and ideally with a human companion.
Additionally, make sure that the environment is a place where your dog can feel safe. When scared, most dogs will seek out enclosed places like a bathtub or a closet. If your dog likes their crate, this is a good option. You can also make the environment more hospitable for your pup by closing all the curtains and blinds, removing the visual stimulation, which can help calm them. If you are leaving the house, make sure that your dog has something to entertain them, like a puzzle toy with treats. You can also try sound therapy if you are looking for a way to relax your dog when you aren’t home. There is music that is specially designed to calm dogs, including an extensive collection of products from Through a Dog’s Ear and The Canine Noise Phobia Series. This music is specifically designed to calm the dog’s nerve system, even if you play it quietly (remember that dogs can hear much better than humans can from our previous blog!). Leaving a CD of sound therapy on for your dog while you go to your Fourth of July festivities may be helping for keeping them calm.
If you need help calming your animal on the Fourth of July, come into Countryside Animal Hospital in Fort Collins. We are happy to consult with you about what ways will be best for calming your pet. Contact us today to schedule an appointment before Independence Day!