by Lisa Lippman
July 3, 2020
The Fourth of July is almost here, but that also means it’s time for fireworks.
For dog owners, the Fourth of July can be a complicated undertaking. During this fireworks season, I’m constantly asking myself: How can I help my dog, Chloe, be more comfortable? How can I make sure my dog is safe? And, doesn’t run away after hearing the fireworks?
Quality of life is everything when it comes to pet ownership. After all, what’s the use of having a pet if you aren’t caring for each other?
Thankfully, my dog, Chloe, and I have evolved together over the years to trust and care for one another during scary times of the year like this.
Ahead, I’m sharing my five tips to help you and your dog find your inner calm this Fourth of July.
Dogs, like humans, have emotions. These emotions can cause dogs to be afraid of fireworks for many reasons: smell, noise, or giant blasts of light.
Researchers have proven that dogs can hear twice as many frequencies as humans. Therefore, dogs must determine what sounds require an action. And, loud noises can trigger a fear response
It is a dog’s survival instinct to go into fight or flight mode when a potential threat, such as fireworks, appears.
But, exposing your dog to the outside world and socializing them, training them to listen even in scary situations, and working together through it will make an enormous difference in the relationship between your canine companion, you, and the fireworks.
Many dogs are terrified of fireworks. While many dogs will self soothe by hiding and waiting it out (the bathtub seems to be a popular hiding place) it’s a good idea to be prepared to help our furry friends out. Below is a list of 5 tips to keep your dog calm, safe, and happy during the 4th of July festivities.
We all know that exercise is good for your mental health, but it’s good for your dog’s mental health. Lately, Chloe has been a couch potato because we’re staying in more than usual. But, dogs may be more apt to escape during the fireworks if they are not getting the exercise they are accustomed to. By exhorting your dog’s energy early on in the day, dogs will be less likely to flee when they’re tired.
The right morning routine can give your dog the fuel it needs to push through that dreaded “wall” of fear caused by fireworks. And running with your dog should be fun for you both, consider this: the happier we are, the happier our pets will be.
Dogs are naturally resilient animals. But, if you’re leaving your home for the night to watch the fireworks, make sure you create a safe haven for your dog indoors. Be sure to put your dog’s bed away from windows surrounded by their favorite toys and an old t-shirt of yours to comfort them. You could also put a towel in the dryer to warm it up and rub lavender oil to calm them.
Calming scents, like lavender, are proven to help your dog in times of stress.
Don’t forget to make sure all of your windows and doors are closed should your dog decide to run. Not only will they hear the fireworks less, but it will also minimize the chance that they get spooked and run away.
And, remember, the more comfortable they are, the less likely they are to freak out.
Classical music or white noise can calm dogs. A study in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior led by author Lori Kogan of Colorado State University discovered that classical music like Mozart, Beethoven, etc. was tied to more relaxed behavior in dogs.
Think about it… dogs have 18 different muscles for controlling their ears. They’re capable of locating the source of a sound in 6/100ths of a second. That’s how they hear the bag of treats open from across the room!
The problem with fireworks isn’t that their loud, it’s that they’re unpredictable. Drowning out the sudden noise of the fireworks with another, more predictable noise, like classical music or white noise, is a good way to distract your dog from the celebration.
Creating a zen space can help drown out the fireworks’ sounds for your dog. The less they hear, the better.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, has compounds found in cannabis and hemp and is often known for its calming effects, especially for pets. Don’t worry! Unlike THC, it does not get your dog high.
To give your dog CBD oil before the fireworks blast off, place a dropper-full of oil on your dog’s tongue. Even though they might feel a little weird or make a funny face, this allows the CBD oil to absorb in your dog’s bloodstream.
If your pup doesn’t like the idea of a dropper, opt for a calming treat. Calming treats are perfect for problematic eater.
I use Medterra pet products for Chloe’s stress and anxiety. I even have switched to using them myself to manage my anxiety. Medterra is an early leader in the industry, and their hemp plants are grown without herbicides like glyphosate. The extracts go through independent, third-party lab testing, and all of their suppliers are GMP certified so there is no risk of contaminants, pesticides, or THC. Chloe and I both love them!
I give Chloe CBD oil one to two hours before the fireworks take action.
Having a pet get lost is one of a pet owner’s worst nightmares. A proper ID tag is probably the best gift you can give your pet, and it’s certainly the best thing you can do for yourself! Unfortunately, shelters can get overwhelmed with dogs the day after the fourth. In the U.S. alone, 3.3 million dogs enter animal shelters each year. A majority of these dogs end up here after running away during fireworks that could have been prevented if the dogs had been trained and with proper IDs from the start.
If your dog gets scared, they may have the urge to flee. Make sure their collar is on (not too loose) and that you have the proper contact information — your home address, your cell phone, destination phone number, and any additional personal information you would like to share! Chloe’s collar reads “Call mom before she freaks out”.
Making sure your dog is properly identified is one of the greatest things you can do to help keep them safe.
Stress and anxiety for dogs during the Fourth of July are common but can be helped with a morning jog, a comfortable, safe space, music to drown out the noise, CBD oil to boost relaxation, and ensuring your dog has proper ID in case the urge to run takes over.
But, if you know your pet is upset during this time of year, be sure to consult with your veterinarian to discuss behavioral therapy and medication.
Enjoy the 4th of July! I hope your day is full of family, friends, BBQ’s, and tons of red, white, and blue treats.