Fireworks will soon be filling the sky as we get set to celebrate the fourth of July, but as much as we love those colorful displays, dog safety is an issue that concerns a lot of pet parents over holiday weekends.
The loud sounds can trigger stress and anxiety in a lot of dogs, which is why canine behaviorist Brad Bevill is offering plenty of guidance to pet parents on how you can prepare your pooch for noise.
“Fireworks are not something that dogs are used to. They don’t know what it is,” he explains. “More dogs get lost on the fourth of July than any other day of the year.”
Panting, barking, dilated pupils, pacing and whining, are all signs of anxiety in dogs, and Bevill believes a lot of the stress is preventable if we spend more time preparing our pups for holiday weekends.
One of the things Bevill advises is exposing your dog to common loud noises year-round but at a lower volume. “Fireworks, gunshots, baby noises, dogs barking, vacuum cleaner any noise you can think of will help them cope when holidays come around,” he says.
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But with the fourth of July almost here, what should you do if you haven’t prepared your pooch? Well, thankfully, plenty of exercise on the day will help.
Bevill suggests wearing your dog out physically and mentally by playing with a few of the best dog toys or indulging in some great indoor games for dogs, so they’re calmer at night. “Drain the energy first, put them into a rest state if you want them to rest,” he explains.
It’s also important that you never leave your dog in the backyard or take them with you to a fireworks display. Instead, leave them in a calming space at home with the windows closed and some white noise playing.
For dogs that are especially high in anxiety, Fort Worth veterinarian Dr. Shawn McCorkle says medication may be the right choice. “It can be a game-changer for a dog that has severe firework anxiety,” he says.
“It can be a matter of life or death if the pet gets away there’s no way to get them back to you, the microchip can be a lifesaver,” McCorkle says.
Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.
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