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Dog Day Sunday: Fireworks + Dogs = Stress

The Fourth of July is upon us, and that means only one thing: celebrating our independence from Britain fireworks!

Those bright aerial explosions are a total delight for Earth’s only pyromaniac race, but for our pets, experiencing fireworks can be strange and downright terrifying.

Make sure that your lovable canine is safe and happy this Fourth of July by following these tips:

Leave your dog at home

If you know that your dog is afraid of Fireworks, don’t bring him with you to fireworks displays. Period.

More pets tend to run away on the Fourth of July than on any other day, so do not leave your dogs outside unattended – especially if you aren’t home. Keep your pet inside (preferably in a crate, if he is crate trained) and make sure that all the doors and windows are securely shut.

If your dog is a known escape artist, then make sure that his tags are securely fastened on his collar. Just in case.

Mind your body language

If you’re going to be with your dog when the fireworks start exploding in the sky, then it is important to keep your dog close to you and as calm as possible.

Dogs are experts at reading human body language, so your reaction to the fireworks will help them form their own reactions. It may be difficult, but try to be stoic and unexcitable during the fireworks, and divert your gaze from the sky from time to time to play with your dog and reward him for doing some fun tricks.

If you aren’t making a big deal of the fireworks, then your dog might not either.

Consider purchasing a Thundershirt

This veterinarian approved and recommended product gently pulsates and applies pressure on the dog’s body, which soothes the dog and helps keeps him calm through many stressful and high energy situations – including fireworks.

Please note: your dog will need to be conditioned to wear this shirt, so it’s important to let your dog relax in it and get used to it several times before the fireworks begin, otherwise it won’t be an effective tool.

The shirt retails for roughly $40 and can be purchased online and at most major pet chains (think Petco and PetSmart).

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Allow your dog plenty of exercise

Your dog may not stress out as much around fireworks if he has spent the day playing and moving, so take a break from the barbecues and pool excursions and spend some quality time with Fido!

Take your dog out to the dog park to play, go for a hike or jog, or just play for hours on end! Do whatever you can to tire your pup out so he (hopefully) can sleep through those scary sky explosions.

If you are going to be exercising your dog more than usual, it’s important to ensure that he is well fed and hydrated throughout the entire day.

This should go without saying, but you know folks these days…

Desensitize your dog to fireworks

If fireworks are a regular occurrence where you live, then you might want to consider desensitizing your dog to the sound.

This can be done by playing sound bytes of fireworks in front of your dog routinely over the span of a couple months. Start with low volume levels, and then gradually pump up the jams over time.

You want your dog to associate the sound with safety, not fear, so it’s extremely important to make sure that your dog is submissive, calm, and comfortable before exposing him to the sound.

This process will take time and patience, but after a while your dog will no longer be afraid of fireworks!

Do you have any more tips that may help dogs get through the Fourth of July peacefully? Let us know in the comments!


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