Photo by TroyMason
A good friend of mine is heading out of town for the Fourth of July weekend, and since I had no big plans, I volunteered to dog-sit for his great little mutt, Juicebox. Being a frustrated animal lover with no pets of my own (aside from some less-than-affectionate guppies), I jumped at the chance to get in some doggie time.
But now, as the weekend approaches, I’m starting to get a little worried. This is Juicebox’s first Fourth of July, and he’s a bit on the skittish side—I’m not sure how he’s going to react once the night is in full swing. I remember how scared the dogs I had as a kid would get—all those loud whistles and booms from the fireworks were just too much for their nerves. Apparently, it’s pretty common for dogs and other animals to become frightened at extremely loud noises like fireworks or thunder, but is there anything that can be done to help soothe their anxiety?
Answers users have apparently been dealing with this problem for a while, and I ferreted out some great ideas to help keep Juicebox from going bonkers. Obviously, the best idea is to take your dog away from the noise. But if that’s not an option, most people recommend keeping pets inside and distracted during fireworks displays. Playing soothing music or turning on the TV can help diminish the auditory melee outside. Keeping your pet’s favorite toys and treats on hand can also help keep them occupied.
A good piece of advice that many users suggest is to avoid coddling the dog while he’s displaying fear, as this will only make things worse. It’s better to keep things light and playful, and to demonstrate that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
For particularly anxious dogs, a sedative might be the best choice. Your veterinarian can suggest the best pharmaceutical for your particular breed, but there are a number of safe, herbal alternatives to consider as well. One user suggests using a couple drops of Bach flower remedy in their water or spearmint oil on their paw pads as a calmative option. Another recommends chamomile tea as a way to keep your pooch mellow and relaxed.
If all else fails, you can invest in some doggie earphones. It’s probably too late to pick up a pair this year, but thanks to LolaMarigolda, I learned about a product called Mutt Muffs which act like noise-canceling headphones for dogs. Who knew?
Hopefully, Juicebox will be perfectly fine come fireworks-time, but at least I feel better armed with some great ideas in case he starts to get worked up. Is there anything else I should know? What suggestions do you have for keeping your pets calm and stress-free during the big fireworks show?
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