Tips for helping dogs during 4th of July fireworks

By Chicago 5 Min Read

How to keep pets calm during the 4th of July fireworks

How to keep pets calm during the 4th of July fireworks 03:22

The 4th of July can be an exciting day for people in the United States, but it can be a very stressful day for dogs.

Nearly one in five lost pets go missing after being startled by the sound of fireworks, thunderstorms or other loud noises, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Why do fireworks scare dogs?

Loud noises can be harsh on a dog’s ears, second Vet Bond. Booming sounds can be perceived as a threat and trigger dogs’ fight-or-flight response, according to Rocky Mountain Veterinary Specialists. Dogs can hear a range of sounds that humans cannot hear. Even everyday noises, like a vacuum cleaner, can be distressing to a dog because it sounds louder to them than to a human.

The unpredictable nature of noises can scare dogs, according to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

“As humans, we understand and come to 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 loud sounds and scary places associated with fireworks,” Dr. Sandra Mitchell, a veterinarian at Animal Medical Associates in Saco, Maine, told pet site Chewy.

What can I do to help my dog ​​with fireworks?

The ASPCA, Rover, the American Kennel Club, Purina and PetMD have a number of tips for keeping your pet calm.

They suggest:

Do your best to tire your dog out before the fireworks start. Keep your dog inside during the fireworks. Keep curtains or blinds closed. There are anti-anxiety medications you can purchase for your dog. Distract your dog with high-value treats. Try placing treats in puzzle toys so your dog can focus on something other than fireworks. Play relaxing music or put on white noise or the TV. Leave your dog’s crate door open. While dogs may seek the safety of a crate, they can panic, try to escape, and injure themselves on a closed door. Don’t leave a frightened dog home alone during the fireworks. Sitting next to your dog and offering him quiet words of reassurance can help. There are earmuffs made especially for dogs, but those are best introduced to a dog gradually before fireworks. Dog owners can also try training their pets to deal with the scary noise, but that too is something that needs to be done beforehand. Owners may play low-level fireworks noises for a short time while treating their dog. Repeat the process over time. Once your dog is comfortable, you can gradually increase the sound for future training sessions.

Are there any other 4th of July concerns for dogs?

Many of the foods that people commonly enjoy during the holidays can be dangerous for dogs.

“Veterans tend to see an increase in visits in the summer from dogs who have eaten ribs, corn on the cob and kebabs,” advises Rover. “Be sure to keep food scraps and trash away from your pet by discarding them as soon as you’re done.”

Keep potatoes, macaroni and pasta salad away from puppies, advises the pet site. Most salads contain onions, which can be toxic to dogs.

While grilling is a popular activity on the 4th of July, avoid giving your dog a full-fat hamburger. Fatty and salty meat can cause severe gastrointestinal upset for a dog.

Corn on the cob can also be a cause for concern. Large pieces can cause blockages.

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