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  • Dogs and Fireworks: What You Need to Know

    by Andrew Borgschulte

    As the 4th of July approaches, we are all looking forward to the great food, an excuse to get away to the pool, lake or beach and some enjoyable fireworks at night. However, as many of us know, dogs and fireworks can be a tough combination.

    Unfortunately, this combo can cause some serious heartbreak and more dogs run away on July 4th than any other day.

    The Fourth of July is always a great holiday, but as dog owners we must be mindful of how our dogs will react to fireworks. This photo is of a Golden Retriever with an American flag in the background.

    What to Do

    Here we offer some practical advice on how to ensure your pup is as comfortable as possible before and during the fireworks.

    Before

    • Act normal – dogs are incredibly adept at detecting behavior changes, so try to act as though everything is fine, even once the fireworks (and their loud bangs) begin
    • Give your dog some exercise earlier in the day to tire them out – this trick works on kids too!
    • Desensitize your pup ahead of time – try playing fireworks noises around your dog, starting at a low level and slowly increasing the volume
    • If all else fails, there are several medicinal options to help with your dog’s anxiety, both over-the-counter and prescription – talk to your vet to discuss the best option for your dog

    During

    • Try confining your dog to a small room in the interior of the home – this will reduce noise and any light flashes
    • Use a radio, fan, or white noise machine to provide another pleasant sound to distract them
    • Make sure they have plenty of toys available – again, positive distraction is the name of the game
    • If possible, be in the room with your dog to provide comfort
    • If outside, keep your dog on a leash – any sudden booms may cause your pup to be startled and could run off unexpectedly
    • Make sure they have plenty of water – and not just because July is hot, anxiety can cause a dog to be more thirsty than normal

    What NOT to DO

    There are also a few no-nos we should point out that can actually make things worse.

    • Use negative or scolding language – as frustrating as it might be, your dog doesn’t have any control over their anxiety so be patient
    • Take your dog to a fireworks show – unless you have had years of experience, this is a recipe for disaster and dogs can be experiencing extreme anxiety even if they are not running around in circles
    • Leave them outside – especially if you are leaving the house. This is how a frightened dog can easily jump a fence when scared.

    Enjoy Your 4th of July

    A golden retriever wearing an American flag bandana during the Fourth of July. Fireworks and dogs are a dangerous combination so be cautious about your plans with your dog during the holiday.

    Like any holiday, the 4th of July is meant to be a relaxing break from work and everyday life. With the tips above, both you and your dog can enjoy the fireworks and the entire holiday. Happy early Independence Day from all of us here at Barkly Pets!

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