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How to keep your dog calm and safe during fireworks festivities

How to keep your dog calm and safe during fireworks festivities

Many people enjoy the dazzling displays of fireworks or setting off firecrackers and poppers with their neighbors on July Fourth. But for some dogs, the loud noises and bright flashes can be terrifying and stressful.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), dogs have a much more acute sense of hearing than humans, so they are more sensitive to sounds that we barely notice. Fireworks can trigger their fight-or-flight response, causing them to panic, bark, hide, or even run away.

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help your canine companion cope with the fireworks festivities and keep them safe and comfortable. Here are six tips from the AKC and other experts:

  • Keep your dog indoors. Even if your dog is normally fine outdoors, the sudden noise of fireworks can make them bolt and get lost or injured. Make sure they have a secure, cozy place to stay inside, away from windows and doors. Provide them with familiar toys, blankets, or treats to help them relax.
  • Play soothing music or white noise. You can mask the sound of fireworks by playing some calming music or white noise in the background. This can help drown out the noise and create a more peaceful environment for your dog.
  • Use a Thundershirt or other calming aid. A Thundershirt is a type of vest that applies gentle pressure to your dog’s body, similar to swaddling a baby. It can help reduce anxiety and stress in some dogs. You can also try other calming aids, such as pheromone sprays, CBD products, or supplements, but consult your veterinarian before using them.
  • Don’t force your dog to interact with fireworks. Some people may think that exposing their dog to fireworks will help them get used to it, but this can backfire and make them more fearful. Don’t force your dog to watch or listen to fireworks, and don’t scold or punish them for being afraid. Instead, be patient and supportive, and reward them for calm behavior.
  • Update your dog’s identification. In case your dog does manage to escape during the fireworks, make sure they have proper identification on them. This includes a collar with tags, a microchip, and a GPS tracker if possible. Having these can increase the chances of finding your dog if they get lost.
  • Consult your veterinarian if your dog has severe anxiety. If your dog suffers from extreme anxiety or phobia of fireworks, you may need to consult your veterinarian for professional advice. They may prescribe medication or behavioral therapy to help your dog cope better.

By following these tips, you can help your dog have a happier and safer Fourth of July.

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