The Fourth of July is on the horizon and people are gearing up to enjoy fireworks and general summer vibes. However, keep in mind that this holiday isn’t always a favourite for your four-legged-friends.
Animal Control Services see a 30% increase in lost pets from July 4th - July 6th. From howling to hiding, there are several obvious and sometimes subtle cues that your dogs may be stressed. If you know your dog has issues with fireworks and noise, we’ve collected some expert solutions that may be able to help your dog out this summer.
1. Stay In a Safe Environment and Prevent Escapes
You don’t want your dog to be one of the many that go missing over the Fourth of July. If your dog gets scared by fireworks, keep them inside as much as possible in a comfortable space where they feel safe.
Additionally, make sure your dog's identification is up to date. This way, you have a better chance of finding your furry companion if they get spooked or run away.
Originally developed to support Military Working Dogs, Rex Specs Ear Pro is designed to reduce the environmental noise that dogs are exposed to. While the protection does take some training to get your dog used to it (do this before the Fourth of July!), the sound-blocking material will help decrease noise from fireworks and keep your pooch comfortable.
For one dog owner, Becky Wessels, the Ear Pro has been the only thing that’s helped her dog feel comfortable during fireworks. Without the Ear Pro, Wessels says “He was absolutely terrified, he would shake uncontrollably and hide in the bathroom.”
With the Ear Pro, “It’s a complete game changer!” says Wessels. “He now runs to his Ear Pro the second he hears the first sound of a firework and relaxes almost instantly once he has them on!”
3. Give Positive Reinforcement
Offer treats, playtime, or anything that offers a helpful distraction and makes your pup happy. You may have heard the concept of leaving your dog alone and not rewarding bad behaviour, but here’s the thing: your dog isn’t acting out for the sake of acting out. They’re trying to communicate.
Instead, give your pup lots of love. By providing comfort, treats, and love, you communicate to them that the loud noises aren’t a threat (and are actually a good thing because it means they get treats!). If your dog is really freaked, they may be too anxious to be interested in love, treats, or play, so it’s best to start this strategy before their anxiety level has gone up or primarily use it for dogs with only mild phobias.
4. Ask Your Vet About Medications
In some instances, a relaxer or sedative can help relieve stress. If you want to try this strategy, be sure to talk to your vet about what type and dose would be best for your dog and when to have your dog take it.
5. Try a Pressure Wrap or Calming Vest
A wrap, vest, or shirt provides constant pressure around your dog’s body that simulates being held and releases calming hormones and endorphins. Results of these products may vary based on the dog or situation, but if your dog is generally anxious, it might be something worth trying. Rex Specs Ear Pro has a similar effect.
With these tips, we hope both you and your dog can have a fun and safe Fourth of July!