Happy 4th of July to everyone - the 239th Anniversary of the adoption of The United States Declaration of Independence!
This year we have thunderstorms in the afternoon to be followed by fireworks this evening. This boils down to no outdoor cookout and a lot of loud booming noises outside!
Did you know that thunder is a lot different than fireworks to a dog? Fireworks are closer to the ground assaulting multiple senses at one time: eyes, ears, nose. Too much sensory information can be can overwhelming resulting in panting, shaking, scared dogs.
While we have yet to find something that will make our own 4-Leggers shrug the noises off 100%, we have found some tips that help them cope that we hope you will find helpful.
- Before the loud booming starts, make sure you have properly exercised your dog. Having a little less energy to burn is good!
- Do not take your canine friend to a fireworks display unless you know they will be calm.
- Keep your dogs indoors during loud noises, preferably with human companionship.
- Provide a safe place in the house for them to "huddle". If you dog uses a crate, that is a great option. Most dogs like small enclosed spaces when under stress.
- This is one of the most common days where dogs run away. Running away from noise is a survival instinct. If they do run - check inside garages, under shrubs, under porches and cars, and other small tight spaces. Keeping your dog indoors except for potty breaks will help to keep them safe. Speaking of potty breaks... get them out of the way before the big fireworks start!
- If possible, close windows and curtains. This reduces stimulation.
- Distraction technique! Find something your dog loves to do and take their attention away from the loud booming noises.
- Sound Therapy! Yes - it does help. We use Through A Dog's Ear for sound therapy. The psychoacoustiacally designed music has been proven to reduce canine anxiety. It is most effective when you first play it when your canine is peaceful and relaxed. They will begin to associate the music with being calm. You can also try Sound Therapy with Desensitization - a training toool that combines three elements for the treatment and prevention of sound sensitivities and noise phosias.
- Tactile: Many dogs respond well to being "wrapped" such as the Thundershirt.
- Scent: There are a number of sprays that help to calm dogs - pheromones or essential oils.
- One of the most improtant things you can do is the make sure your dog is wearing a collar with a current tag and that they are chipped so if all of your planning goes awry - they can be safely returned to you!
- Communication: Your dog gets takes their cue from you. Send a calm message to your dog through your energy, movements, and communications.
If you have a tip that works for you - please share it! It may help someone else!