Dogs and fear of loud noises like fireworks and thunder
It's that time of year again... When we celebrate our great country, but also when dogs are the most likely to escape their back yards out of sheer terror. What seems fun for us, feels like the end of the world to them.
With their hearing being so much greater than ours, combined with the fact that they simply do not know what is happening, it is difficult to ease a dog's fears this time of year. But there are a few things that can make a big difference.
First and most importantly, keep your dog safely indoors during the evenings leading up to, during and even a couple of nights after the 4th of July. Often, in many neighborhoods, people have bought their fireworks and are eager to try them out days before the actual holiday. And they will continue to use any leftovers for a few days after too. As fireworks look best in the dark, they are most likely to set them off when the sun goes down. Therefore, by keeping your dog in once the sun goes down, you are helping protect him when there is the greatest chance for the scary sounds.
Ensure that once inside, your dog does not have the ability to bolt outside if you open the door to let guests in or for any other reason. This includes the door to your backyard if you are going to be outside enjoying a barbecue. A perfectly behaved dog on a normal day, can forget all of the rules when panicked and they are notoriously able to jump fences that you never would have imagined they could. You may need to put your dog in their kennel or on their favorite bedroom if your door to the outside may get opened a lot.
One very effective way to calm your dogs when there are loud noises like fireworks or thunderstorms is to put a dog thunder shirt on them. This shirts feel like they are getting a comforting hug and gives them a larger sense of security. People have raved about how effective they can be. People have compared it to swaddling an infant.
Aromatherapy has helped many dogs, especially lavender essential oil. Simply place one drop behind each ear (be careful to not get it in their eyes or mouth), and the calming effects will begin. As with all products you use with your animals or family, ensure you are using a pure oil that does not have any chemicals that could harm them.
Calming collars have proven very beneficial as well. Sentry has been taking the market with theirs and many dog owners swear by them.
If you feel like your dog is one who's anxiety is extreme and natural options will not be enough, your veterinarian can prescribe helpful remedies that should be what you need on challenging nights like the 4th of July or whenever there may be severe thunderstorms. Contact your vet right away so you have enough time to get the prescription filled and picked up before the holiday hits.
Here's to a very happy and healthy 4th of July for you and your beloved dog! We hope these recommendations help keep you all safe and sound!