Help for Dogs During Fourth of July Fireworks

While the Fourth of July is a joyous day for many Americans, it may be quite the opposite for pets. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, over one-fifth of all missing pets disappear after being frightened by fireworks, thunderstorms, or other loud noises.

Why do fireworks Scare Dogs?

Bond Vet warns that dogs’ ears can be damaged by the loud noises. Veterinary Specialists of the Rockies reports that dogs may interpret the loud noises as an attack and react with a “fight or flight” response.

There are several sounds that can only be heard by dogs but not by humans. A dog’s heightened sensitivity to hearing means that even mundane noises like a vacuum machine can be unsettling.

According to research from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, dogs may become anxious when exposed to sudden, unexpected noises.

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Dr. Sandra Mitchell, a veterinarian at Animal Medical Associates in Saco, Maine, told pet site Chewy, “As humans, we understand and expect the annual tradition of fireworks, particularly around the 4th of July, but this concept is foreign to our dogs, and many are genuinely frightened if they are suddenly exposed to the loud sounds and scary sights associated with fireworks.”

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What Can I do to Help my Dog with Fireworks?

Many sources, like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Rover, the American Kennel Club, Purina, and PetMD, offer advice on how to keep your pet from being stressed.

Indications are:

  • Before the fireworks start, make sure your dog has had enough of exercise.
  • During fireworks shows, your pet should remain inside. Close the drapes or the blinds.
  • Your dog may benefit from anti-anxiety medicine, which is available for purchase.
  • Use very desirable treats to distract your dog. If you want your dog to pay attention to something other than the fireworks, try hiding goodies in a puzzle toy.
  • Put on some soothing tunes, white noise, or the TV to help you relax.
  • Do not close the door to your dog’s crate. Although dogs may seek refuge in crates, they risk injury if they try to escape while the door is closed.
  • A dog that is easily frightened by pyrotechnics should not be left alone.
  • It can help to sit next to your dog and speak soothingly to him.
  • Earplugs designed specifically for dogs can help muffle the sound of explosions, but they should be given to a dog gradually.
  • Dog owners might also try to prepare their pups for frightening noise by training them in advance. Dog owners can distract their pet with low-volume fireworks noises for a few moments while administering a treat. Keep doing it over and over again. You can progressively increase the volume in subsequent training sessions after your dog is accustomed to it.

Are There Any other Fourth of July Concerns for Dogs?

Dogs shouldn’t eat many of the items that people eat at this time of year. “Veterinarians tend to see an increase in visits in the summertime from dogs who’ve eaten ribs, corn on the cob, and skewers,” Rover advises. “Make sure to keep food scraps and trash away from your pet by discarding them as soon as you’re finished.”

The pet site suggests not feeding your dog any kind of potato, macaroni, or pasta salad. The onions in most of the salads could be harmful to dogs. Avoid feeding your dog full-fat hamburger on the Fourth of July, when grilling is a favorite pastime.

A dog’s digestive system might suffer greatly from the ingestion of meat high in both fat and salt. The same is true for corn on the cob. Blockages can be caused by large objects.

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