We’re just a weekend away from the most dangerous time of the year for our pets – that’s right, the Fourth of July.
And while your typical cat will usually just hide under a bed when the fireworks start, dogs can, and do, make a beeline out the door. In fact, more runaway pups are taken in by animal shelters on the 5th of July than any other day of the year!
If you haven’t faced a fourth with your pooch yet keep in mind even if he’s not afraid of thunderstorms he may still be frightened by fireworks. Thunderstorms come with cues your pet can sense such as atmospheric pressure changes and increased winds. But fireworks literally come out of nowhere.
When you combine acute hearing and the surprise factor it’s really no wonder they frighten some dogs. Some experts say up to 40 percent of dogs experience some level of noise anxiety.
Our pups can suffer from panic attacks too!
While you can’t stop the noise, you can take some steps to make things a bit more comfortable for Fido. Not to mention yourself if your dog tends to become destructive during times like these.
Veterinarians describe canines in this category as suffering from “a true panic disorder.” And just like people panic disorders, Big Pharma has a nice selection of drugs for them to take!
But there are some ways to help your best friend without resorting to pharmaceuticals, which can have the same risky side effects for dogs as they can for people.
Help your pooch face fireworks without drugs
This one is the simplest solution of all – take Buddy to another location, be it a friend’s house, or even a kennel or doggie day care, where it will be quieter.
Try a ThunderShirt, or similar types of “calming” clothing. Many dog owners report great success with these products. The thought is that by using a shirt to applying gentle pressure, dogs will have less anxiety during loud events such as thunderstorms and fireworks.
Not enough time to pick up a ThunderShirt before the fourth? You can try this DIY thunder wrap provided by the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) last year on their Twitter feed:
Make sure your pup has had some exercise during the day, which might make him calmer at night.
Confine for comfort:
If your dog is comfortable in a travel kennel, you might want to consider crating him during the booms. Many dogs find the confined space of their kennel comforting.
But keep in mind not all dogs take to being confined — it can even make certain ones more nervous. You know your furry friend best so make this call based on what you know about your pup’s own personality.
Keep him calm and carry on
His favorite toy or a special treat can be a good distraction. Try turning on some music to mask the noise. And remain calm yourself because your anxiety will only serve to heighten his. But if you’re relaxed he will understand he’s safe and he may feel more relaxed too.
Also, be sure to shut windows and pull down the blinds. But, for good measure, don’t forget to make sure your dog is wearing his collar with up-to-date ID. Better safe than sorry.
Do you have any techniques that have worked with your own pets in the past? Share them with us in the comments below.
I hope you, and your dog, have a happy and panic free Fourth!
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
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