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I used to have a Border Collie, Tag, who you might remember from Our Story. She spent significant “firework holidays,” aka “boom boom days” huddled under my bed, or shaking in the back of her crate with the door open, or cowering under her dog bed.

For her, fireworks were pure hell. She also was afraid of other loud noises, if you dropped anything on the floor or a fireplace fire “popped” she would shoot out of the room, scared out her boots. I had to stop trialing her in agility even though she was a champion when they switched to electronic starts. The monotoned “GO” would send her through the roof, and no matter how far away we crated waiting our turn, she would hear it and be miserable, poor thing.

Luckily we’ve come a very long way with how we can help dogs with noise phobias, and while I wasn’t able to use some of these with her (they weren’t around yet), I have used them with other dogs and clients dogs and have seen success! So read on, and happy early boom boom day.

Safety

Keep doors and windows locked and closed with your shades down and your curtains closed. If you have visitors, be sure to set up a safe place for your dog so they won’t be near doors opening and closing where they can escape.

Consider staying home with your dog to make sure they remain safe if you know they suffer from anxiety.

Keep updated contact information on your dog including an updated ID tag and your phone number embroidered or written on their collar and a microchip with your most recent contact information. Updated your microchip is very important as collars do fall off, and an updated chip is your best way of getting home.

Never use fireworks around your dog. The noise and can startle your dog, and they could run off, get lost, get hit by a car or stolen. Keep him away from fireworks.

Resist the urge to bring your dog with you to fireworks shows and parties. It might seem like a good idea but again, if your dog were to be startled and get lost they would be in an unfamiliar environment on top of being lost, they typically don’t enjoy fireworks as we do, so it’s best to leave them home.

All Natural Solutions

Bach Flower Remedies (sometimes called Flower Essences) were discovered by Dr. Bach way back in 1938. As their name says, they are derived from flowers and commonly used to help both humans and pets feel better emotionally.

Rescue Remedy for dogs, the human form has alcohol in it. This formula is well known and uses five different remedies to help your dog in stressful situations, such as thunderstorms and fireworks, car travel and vet visits.

Pheromone Therapy for dogs, or DAP, Dog Appeasing Pheromone, can also be used. According to Dr. Patricia McConnell, “DAP is an artificial replicate of the pheromone produced between the mammary glands of a lactating bitch. It is species-specific and has no detectable odor and has the significant advantage of requiring you to buy it and plug it in. Period. Perhaps the most natural behavioral treatment known to science. It has some good research behind it, and I’ve recommended it to clients for several anxiety-related problems in dogs and cats (Feliway is the brand name of one of the feline versions), and I’d estimate that it appeared to be helpful in at least half of them.”

Thundershirt anxiety jackets for dogs. The tight fit of this jacket provides comfort, like a hug. Its gentle, constant pressure can help calm your dog during fireworks. It’s also great for separation anxiety, travel, and vet visits.

CBD Oil and treats for dogs. CBD oil is derived from hemp and used for different applications. I’ve found it to be beneficial for relieving stress and anxiety in pets. Make sure the CBD oil you purchase is lab tested and approved and pure and safe for pets. I prefer the brand, Source. Source CBD offers the highest quality, non- psychoactive, gold- grade CBD oil available on the legal market.

Sounds

Playing different sounds throughout your home and in your dog’s safe space can help soothe your dog. There have been several studies done by researchers, and they have told us that it doesn’t matter what kind of music but rather the elements of the music that’s important. More extended notes, pure tones, as well as a tempo matching your dog’s regular resting heart rate, can work best (60-100 beats in large dogs and 100-140 in smaller dogs).

Television
Talk Radio
Classical Music or music with more extended notes, regular rhythms and
Spotify Playlists
White noise machines
Fans
Air Conditioners

Enrichment Activities

Stuffed kongs with frozen treats can last for hours. Snuffle mats are lovely for crumbled up dog cookies and treats. Dog puzzle games provide enrichment and promote problem-solving. Searching games like hide and seek or searching for cookies around the house can be a game to keep active dogs busy.

Exercise

You’ll want to make sure your dog has plenty of exercise on the days leading up to, during and even following the 4th of July.

Potty breaks outside before it gets dark. People are less likely to set off fireworks during the daytime. Once dusk rolls around the likely hood of fireworks going off is more. Long walks to encourage them to potty before the festivities start.

Medicating

Medication is also an option to speak directly to your Veterinarian. There are different medications out there for dogs; however, there is no way to predict when fireworks will happen, so sometimes it’s too late to dose the dog after fireworks have surprised everyone by starting three days before or after the holiday. Medications also have side effects.

Never give your dog medication without speaking to your veterinarian first. They may have suggestions based on your dog’s individual medical history that Dr. Google won’t take into account.

It’s best to have multiple tools in your belt and see what works and what doesn’t. Be prepared to switch it up as well!

Resources

Pets Crave Love™

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