When the fireworks are lighting up the sky to celebrate Independence Day, you may find your pets running for cover, or worse, running away. For many dogs, July 4 (and the following week as neighbors continue to light fireworks) can be nerve wracking and exhausting, leading to increased tremors and barking as their anxiety is heightened and their sense of calm is disrupted.
However, your pet does not have to spend the coming week in fear. With a few simple precautions, Independence Day does not have to mean stress for your furry friends.
Keep Your Pet Inside
Your natural instinct may be to let your dog join you outside as you light the fireworks, but for an anxious dog, going outside during fireworks can trigger their fight or flight response. Your dog may begin to bark at the fireworks and might even panic and get too close to a lit firecracker or run away.
Instead, let your dogs out earlier in the day so that they can get as much exercise as possible, and when the fireworks start make sure they are inside. Keeping their environment as calm and normal as possible can help. Keeping your curtains or blinds closed can help as well so that your pup isn’t also being frightened by bright lights. When you go inside, treat your dog normally (a few extra good belly rubs won’t hurt) and make sure your dog has something to do — like playing with a special toy. Playing soft music can also help ease your dog’s fears as the fireworks are underway.
Try Holistic CBD Remedies
CBD products for dogs can make a difference in their anxiety levels. For example, Calm by CBD Dog Health will help reduce anxiety, stress, and fear during thunderstorms and fireworks by feeding your pet’s endocannabinoid system. Although many vets recommend giving a dog children’s Benadryl, you may find that CBD products are more effective and safe than treating your pet with people medication.
Create a Wrap
Your pet can benefit from being put in a shirt, vest, or wrap. Putting something with weight or slight pressure on your pet creates a calming effect, according to a recent study examined in the Wall Street Journal. Just like weighted blankets help people with anxiety, creating a comfortable weighted shirt or swaddle can give the dog a sense of feeling grounded and calm, so long as they are still able to move around freely.
You can find vests, like the ThunderShirt, at your local pet store. You can also save money by wrapping your pets chest in an elastic bandage or self-adhesive wrap (but not too tight!) to create the same effect.
Try to Reduce Outside Excitement
If you are having a barbecue or party before the fireworks, it can be helpful to separate your pet from your guests in the hour or so leading up to the fireworks. Your dog will already be in a heightened state from all of the extra stimuli — like new people (who might be dropping easy-to-grab food), so keeping them apart and sitting with them to calm them down before heading out to set off fireworks can help. If nothing else, try to limit the amount of new foods (read: table foods) being given to your pet that might excite them more. Your goal should be to keep them in the emotional middle ground.
Remember, your pet does not understand that the fireworks are a good thing. What they do understand is that there are loud noises and bright lights, and often a lot of tension and anxiety from small children and anxious pet parents. Try to keep yourself as calm as possible and remember that getting frustrated with your dog barking or shaking will not help, and both you and your dog can begin enjoying holidays together.
For more information on CBD Dog Health products, click here.
Angela Ardolino has been caring for animals since she was 8 years old and has operated a farm rescue for over 10 years. She is also the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and spa, and the founder of CBD Dog Health. Angela is an expert in medical cannabis and holistic pet care, and has dedicated her life to providing all-natural relief for pets of all kinds. She has five dogs, plus 4-10 at any time that she is fostering or boarding. Visit www.angelaardolino.com to find out more, or www.facebook.com/fireflakefarm for more information about Fire Flake Farm.