While Independence Day is a time of celebration for many humans, some dog owners will be holed away in their homes, dreading the impending noise of the Fireworks to come. While it is normal for dogs to startle at loud sounds, some dogs actually have severe phobias of firework type noises.
Owners should have a game plan for dogs who are phobic and display intense anxiety.
* Taking your dog for a long period of exercise during the *day* on the 4th before the noise starts is a good way to drain him of excess energy that he could put in to panicking.
*As evening approaches you can mask the sound of the noise by turning up the television or the radio. However attempt to go about your normal routines around the house. If your dog sees you acting in an “abnormal” manner it is more likely to add to his anxiety.
*Provide your dog with a stuffed kong or another food filled toy to try to keep him busy – the chewing motion is soothing to your dog as well. Some dogs may not be interested in this if their anxiety level is too high, but it is worth attempting!
If you know your dog has severe issues on the 4th, sometimes the best thing you can do is head to your Veterinarian and obtain a small prescription for sedatives for the evening. Vets are used to this request around Independence Day!
Photo by romeo’smom
If you have a puppy, conditioning him to the sound of fireworks during the first 4 months of his life can be incredibly helpful to prevent phobic patterns from forming. You can obtain a CD with the noise of fireworks on it and play it at a low volume (that gradually increases over a few weeks) while your dog is engaging in activities he likes (eating meals, playing with toys). This will help him form positive associations with these sounds.