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As readers of this blog know, I’m a big fan of animals in general and doggies in particular. The time around the fourth of July can be very difficult for dogs, as even the calmest dog can get scared, escape from his yard and then once calm again cannot find his way back home. It is the number one day for lost dogs. We all have spent many a 4th of July with doggies freaking out from the loud and unexpected noise. This can also happen on the days surrounding the 4th. The following are some ideas gleaned from various sources that hopefully will help us all, (canine and human alike). Not all dogs are alike, indeed some dogs get through this time of year without a problem, while others not-so-much. Some of these ideas may or may not work for your particular dog.
- Have the dog get lots of exercise during the day.
- Human contact. Being there for your pet can go a long way. Verbally comforting them, playing with them, and giving treats can all distract them.
- Bringing the dog to a quiet, dark place to decrease stimulation and insulate from the outside noise can help. Dogs often will retreat to smaller enclosed areas. They are natural den dwellers. This may be especially helpful if the dog will be alone on the 4th.
- If the dog is used to sleeping in a crate, this may be a good option. Some will place a blanket on top to decrease light stimulation as well.
- Leaving a television or radio on may also drown out outside noise.
- Boarding you dog may be a good idea if you are not going to be home. The dogs will interact with the other dogs, and will be distracted from the outside noise. This is becoming a very popular activity, so try and book early. You may want to book more than one day, as some light fireworks on the days surrounding the 4th.
- Dogs with a history of difficulty with fireworks may benefit from a little sedation. Talk to your local veterinarian about over-the-counter preparations, (i.e.; Benadryl) or prescription medicines. It is important to get the dosage right.
- Some have had success with the “Original Anxiety Wrap” or the “Thundershirt.” It is a tight fitting jacket type garment placed around your dog with Velcro. The manufacturer states that 80 % of dog owners have reported decreased or resolved symptoms of stress. Some dogs find comfort in a snug, enclosed garment.
- Some have used have tried DAP – Dog-Appeasing Pheromone – collars, which claim to release a comfort-inducing pheromone. This is supposed to put the dog into kind of a comfortable, tranquil state. Some have reported that wearing the collar does help their dogs become “less anxious.”
- Sound therapy. Psycho-acoustically designed music of Through a Dog’s Ear has been specifically designed to reduce canine anxiety. The music doesn’t need to be loud to be effective.
- Sound therapy with Desensitization. The Canine Noise Phobia series (CNP) consists of four CD’s that can be used individually or as a set: Fireworks, Thunderstorms, City Sounds, and Calming. CNP is an innovative desensitization training tool that combines three distinctive elements for the treatment and prevention of sound-sensitivities and noise-phobias:
- Make sure your dog is wearing an ID tag and a properly fitting collar. They tend to be able to wiggle out of anything, especially if scared. Please make sure that your dog has a microchip. The microchip makes is much easier to reunite the dog with the owner if the collar comes off.
The Animal Foundation, (Las Vegas, NV), will temporarily waive reclaiming fees for animals who run away after being frightened by loud Fourth of July fireworks displays, (for a week). Fees will not be waived for animals that were confiscated by Animal Control. During a similar time period last year, the foundation took in 530 animals. Proof of ownership, such as photos or veterinary records, is required to reclaim an animal. Proof of citizenship is not required.
Hopefully some of these ideas can help all of us; humans and canines alike, better enjoy the Independence Day celebrations.