How To Ease Your Dog’s Anxiety On The 4th Of July

With the Fourth of July right around the corner, there are probably plenty of pet owners who are dreading the big day. While it’s always great to have a backyard bbq and top the evening off with a firework display, we need to prepare our pets. Celebrations such as the Fourth of July are particularly stressful days for our dogs.

In fact, this holiday has the most runaways than any other day. That’s why it is so important to take precautions in order to avoid any problems. While it’s easy to get wrapped up in the festivities around you, it’s still vital to keep an eye on them and make sure that they’re wearing proper identification – just in case.

Since loud noises trigger the fight or flight response in their nervous systems, dogs easily become anxious at the sounds and want to run away. It’s part of their survival instincts. In order to keep your dog calm, there are some tips that can make the difference a big difference for your Fourth of July.

Below are 5 tips:

1. Preparation

The first step to making sure your pet is safe is to figure out where the fireworks won’t be as loud. Somewhere familiar, like at a relative’s home, might be a good place to spend the holiday. If it happens to be a location they’ve never been to, try taking them there prior to the day.

2. Accommodation

If traveling away from the source of the fireworks is not an option, there are other measures you can take, such as getting a home kennel. Or, if you’re not going to be home, have someone stay with your dog to let them out of the kennel even four hours for a bathroom break.

3. Acclimation

The best long-term solution for getting your dog used to fireworks is to acclimate them to the sound. This is easier said than done because, while it’s a simple process, it does require a large amount of time. Typically speaking, it can take between three or four months of exposing them to the sounds of fireworks. You condition them by playing recorded sounds just before they engage in an activity that they enjoy, such as eating or a walk. Then you gradually raise the volume of the sound as they get more and more used to the sounds. Simple, effective, but definitely time-consuming.

4. Sedation

Some dog owners find it easier to use medication (like chamomile) or a thundershirt in order to keep their dogs relaxed during a firework display. If you choose to go this route, it helps to have introduced your dog to these methods before the fireworks start. So if you are planning on giving them medication, make sure it is before they are subjected to the sounds of the fireworks. If your dog is already in an anxious state, the medication will be ineffective.

5. Communication

If you’re spending the holiday with your dog and you’ll be with them during the fireworks, then you will be able to talk to them. Our dogs enjoy our company, so if we speak to them in a calming manner and we are able to convey that there is no reason for them to worry. This is one way for them to begin to learn that there isn’t anything to the fireworks. But regardless, you should still take them for a walk before the fireworks start or play with them – anything to expel their energy so that they’re in a more calm state when the displays start. This way you can have a better chance to calm them through communication.

But perhaps the most important thing to remember when preparing your dog for another Fourth of July isn’t to treat them like a kid who is missing out on the fireworks. There is no need for that. The top priority is your dog’s well-being. Fourth of July is scary enough for dogs without you adding stress by exposing them to fireworks or making a big deal about their anxiety. Just love them, prepare for the fireworks, and with any luck, they will be ok come July 5th.

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Anastasia is an American ex-pat living in Ireland. When she's not writing she can be found wandering the Irish countryside in search of inspiration. You can follow her writing adventures on Twitter @AnastasiaArell5 or Instagram @writeranastasia26
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