The 4th of July is a fun holiday for humans, but for dogs, it means loud fireworks and an above average amount of commotion around the neighborhood. You might not think twice about it, but even if you don't have a normally anxious dog, it's a good idea to take a few extra precautions this holiday to keep your dog calm, cool, and collected.
1. Plan Ahead
Planning and preparation is key before the 4th of July. Ask yourself, where will your dog be at the firework shows? Is my dog’s collar contact information up to date? Will you be home with them or out? Should I consider a microchip technology? Do I need to hire a dog sitter in advance? Regardless, it is ideal to create a location for your pet where the commotion is minimal. Using the rest of the suggestions in this article will help you plan like an expert!
2. Stay Home, Play It Cool
If you are planning on being home the evening of July 4th, great! Your dog will feel the most comfortable and safe with you around. One way to create the best supportive environment is to select a location in your home that is the quietest or away from windows. Also, keep it cool! As soon as those fireworks start popping, act completely normal around your dog, like any other night. They will feed off your energy and feel safer and less anxious.
If you are not staying home, no stress, just make sure someone is home to keep an eye on your dog, as running away and hiding is common. Consider an alternative option in supporting your pup at a distance by installing video cameras in your home or downloading a dog app for pet/home monitoring.
3. Get Moving!
This is a no-brainer! It's also something that is likely already part of your routine so it's easy to plan for. Take your dog on a long walk or hike earlier in the day so they don't have excess energy or excitement when the evening rolls around. Getting them moving and tired may reduce anxiety later in the day as the commotion increases.
Related: Fun Ways to Work Out with your Dog!
4. Time for toys and treats
Now's the time to pull out all the stops! Extra distractions will help your dog stay focused on the positive and ignore any scary sounds outside. An extra hard chew bone or a brain puzzle will keep them occupied for a longer time. You might even add some peanut butter into the toy for added enjoyment! Calling your dog over for a treat always does the trick too! Bonus points if it's a CBD treat. (see next tip)
5. Consider calming CBD treats.
A calming supplement like CBD can do wonders during stressful situations like the 4th of July. CBD is a naturally chemical derived from cannabis that is proven to reduce anxiety in dogs, among other health benefits. If you are new to CBD, consider giving your dog a few CBD treats the week leading up to the 4th to determine which dose works best for your dog. Remember, every dog is different! It is best to introduce CBD early on in the day and increase dose as needed through the evening. If you introduce it after your pup is already high anxiety, it may be less effective.
Curious about where to locate good quality CBD treats? Visit Dope Dog who has the purest, most bioavailable CBD isolates on the market in the doggy community!
6. Close out the crazy.
This can mean a lot of things, but basically you want to block out as much of the commotion as possible. Make sure all your doors and windows are closed which will maximize sound blocking. You will also want to close your curtains which will decrease the sound and block out any flashing lights from fireworks. If there is a spot in your home that is more serene than others, consider setting your dog up there. Taking these noise block measures plus adding some comforting, familiar sounds (see next tip) will be a game-changer.
7. Find the familiar.
Anything that will initiate a sense of familiar for your dog should be brought into play. Do they like to cuddle with a special toy or blanket? Do they like to lay in their favorite chair? Finding the familiar will make your dog feel at ease. It's also a good idea to play some fun or relaxing music inside the house to keep your dog a bit distracted and calm. TV works too! Any other sounds that your dog is already familiar with may distract them from the loud and scary firework noises. Ultimately, your dog will feel safe if they are surrounded by their favorite things, including you!
Related: 10 Ways to Help Your Nervous Dog
8. Demystify the Firework ‘scaries’.
If you find that your dog is showing severe signs of anxiety, consider reaching out to a dog trainer, or your vet, on how to support your pup to adjust to loud noise, such as fireworks. If you don’t have access to a trainer currently, one possible at-home suggestion is to play at low volume the sounds of fireworks or thunderstorms. This will help your dog to familiarize the sounds with the support and comfort of your presence. Additionally, you can positively reinforce your dog’s behavior in adjusting to the noise by adding in a special treat! Always make sure that your dog is not expressing nervous or anxious signs while trying this alternative. To explore some dog trainers we are familiar with, check out Dope Dog’s ‘Ask a Trainer’ series !