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Keeping Pets Calm During Fireworks

July 4th is a just a few days away, and with it often comes food, fun, and fireworks, a great combination for most. Unfortunately, fireworks aren’t usually a favorite of your four-legged friends, especially dogs.

Dogs are often afraid of loud, sudden noises, like thunder, cars backfiring, and fireworks. Some, like Australian Shepherd Maggie, are actually phobic. Thunderstorms and fireworks cause her to shake, drool, and run away—one time she ran away and returned with broken teeth.

Even for a non-phobic dog, though; the experience can be harrowing. How can you help your dog through the experience?

  • Run-away Proof. Often, a dog has one of two reactions to loud noises: hide or run. This can result in dogs running away. Make sure that your yard is secure with an electric dog fence or large privacy fence with no holes and no easy way to get in or out.
  • Desensitization. You can help your dog get used to the fireworks by starting today. Turn the sound of fireworks on your TV or computer, just loud enough so your dog can hear it but not enough to antagonize. Then, do something fun with the dog: play catch, wrestle, rub his tummy, pet her head. As long as he or she is dealing with the sound well, keep increasing the volume in little increments until it’s very loud and your dog is still okay.
  • Compression. Many creatures—dogs and humans alike—find comfort in pressure. Think of a comforting hug, for instance; or the weight of warm blankets. Compression shirts for pets work on a mental-physical level to provide calm from anxiety.
  • A Quiet Room. On the 4th, make sure you have a room that is mostly quiet and shielded from the outside so that if the noise gets to be too much for your pet, he will still have a place where he can hide away until it’s over.

How does your pet react to loud noises? How will you help?

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