It’s July 4th and everyone is having a great time. Cherry bombs are going off, Roman candles are shooting skyward. But where are the dogs?
Huddled in a corner, hiding under the bed, or glued to someone’s leg.
Those cowering dogs have a built-in fear of loud noises or may be experiencing PTSD. You probably have strategies that you use to help your dog, but we can all benefit from a little refresher course and a new idea or two – or ten!
1. Let your dog off the hook by not exposing it to noise: Take your dog to a friend’s or relative’s home that is away from the fireworks, or board your dog for the night.
2. Keep your dog in the house and lessen the noise and anxiety by designating a safe place, like a crate, that is as quiet as possible. Muffle the fireworks’ booms by closing the windows, covering your dog’s crate with a blanket, and/or using a white noise machine or playing soothing music. Conversely, override outside noise by playing the radio or TV – loudly. Remove visual stimuli by closing curtains.
3. Before the event, make sure that your dog has a serious walk or run. Exercise, that great stress reducer, will ensure that your dog is tired and, we hope, less reactive to the noise.
4. Hungry dogs are edgy dogs, so make sure that a few hours before the fireworks start, your dog has a big meal…
5. And has a bathroom break, as well, before things start popping. Just to be on the safe side, also put some pads down in case your dog has an accident.
6. Distract and comfort: cuddle up together and have a calm, quiet, reassuring chat. The calmer you are, the calmer your dog will be. Or distract by playing with a favorite chew toy and/or offering a treat. If you are going out, consider hiring a pet sitter to do all of the above.
7. Swaddle the babe in a wrap. Make one using stretch fabric that you can wrap around shoulders and chest – but not so tightly that it will interfere with breathing or blood flow. Try it out before the event so that your dog will get used to it. (Not into DIY? Buy an anxiety vest.) Humans have been swaddling babies forever and it usually works.
8. Offer a supplement that alleviates stress. Resilience CBD oil, what else! A few drops a few hours before the event should do the trick.
9. It takes time to desensitize a dog to loud noises. Consider consulting a trainer who will help you to begin exposing your dog to the noise of fireworks. Start now so you will be ready for NEXT July 4!
A sound effect found online can be played at low volume. A treat and some praise for your dog’s calm, collected behavior while the recording plays will set the behavior. Over time, increase the volume and change up the recordings so that your dog hears an array of sounds. Eventually, the sound of fireworks will be associated with treats and praise.
THE DON’T: No tough love! Alleviating your dog’s stress will not ‘encourage’ this fear. This fear is valid. In fact, warrior dogs receive a lot of training to help them disregard this self-preserving reaction to noise. Remember, this is July 4th – a celebration.
If you have had success with any of our suggestions – or want to add a suggestion of your own, please write us at email@example.com
Resilience CBD wishes you and your dog a glorious July 4th.