The bright sparkles in the blue sky, summer breeze, the company of friends, time off work, and Independence Day celebrations — who doesn’t like summer holidays? Your four-legged furry friends might not.
Unlike you, your dogs might get scared of loud noises and the flashing lights of the Fourth of July fireworks. They might express their fear by excessive barking, howling, or running away. According to statistics, more dogs go missing on July 4th and 5th than on any other day throughout the year, and fireworks are the main reason to blame (also the smell of barbecues).
Although there is no Independence Day celebration without fireworks that might frighten your pet, there are ways to ease your dog’s fear of fireworks during the Fourth of July, and here are some of the best methods you can try.
Keep Your Pets Inside
Although you might want to watch the July fireworks display from the rooftop and bring your dog with you, that’s not the best idea. Your dogs don’t understand the reason behind frightening bright flashing lights and noises, and being outside will make them feel more stressed. The best way to make them feel safe is to stay indoors and ideally be with them during the fireworks.
Create a Safe Environment
Your dogs might get scared even indoors and get destructive. Therefore, remove those objects that could cause harm to avoid incidents. Close windows to minimize the noise and avoid loud music or the sound of fireworks from TV. Instead, you can mask the noise with classical and calming music or white noise. Close all curtains and blinds to keep away bright flashing lights from fireworks. When they get scared, dogs usually look for a place to hide to ensure they can find a safe spot in the room, like under the bed.
Make them Feel Safe
Your dog will see fireworks as a threat. They won’t appreciate the beauty of fireworks like we do, simply because they don’t know anything about them. As a pet owner, you can help your dog better understand the celebration by communicating your emotions. Petting, hugging, cuddling, or even speaking to them in a soothing voice can help calm your dog and make them feel safe. Moreover, your dog sees you as a leader – they trust and respect you. If they see you acting normal, it will help them understand that fireworks aren’t a real threat, and if you’re not afraid, they shouldn’t be either.
Feed Your Dog Before Fireworks
When your dog eats a meal, the brain’s blood flow is reduced in favor of more blood to the gastrointestinal system, resulting in less oxygen supply and more sleepiness. Thus, it could mean that your dog might react to fireworks more intensely on a hungry stomach than after having a meal, so ensure they are well-fed before fireworks begin.
Massage Your Dog’s Stress Away
According to research, massage therapy helps relieve depression and anxiety by impacting the body’s biochemistry. For example, researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine found that massage can lower cortisol by up to 53 percent and increase serotonin and dopamine levels.
Although these are human studies, we can assume that massage offers stress-relieving benefits for your dogs, too, on pets, as our biochemistry is similar.
Massages may allow you to calm down your dog quickly during the fourth of July fireworks. First, massage your dog’s back, going up and down in circular motions on both sides of the spine. Use gentle pressure and keep rubbing his back, making your way to his back legs and tail. Then proceed to his ears. Most dogs love that, and an ear massage can be calming, relaxing, and easy to perform.
Try CBD for Dogs
Like millions of Americans who use CBD daily, dogs, too, have an endocannabinoid system. Although we don’t yet fully understand how it works, researchers believe it has similar functions as the human ECS system.
Half of human CBD consumers take CBD for relaxation, and 78.9% report it as effective. So if human ECS has something to do with stress response, and CBD somehow helps CBD consumers achieve relaxation, it could also hold a promise for dogs.
Many CBD brands have already launched a line of CBD for dogs. These include CBD tinctures for dogs and CBD treats you can try to ease your dog’s fear of fireworks. CBD will take time to deliver its effects so give your dogs a new treat at least 30-45 minutes before fireworks.