Advice For Lowering Your Dog’s Anxiety And Keeping Him Safe On The 4th Of July
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Independence Day is a wonderful holiday…for people. But for dogs, it’s a whole other story.
Just like people, dogs experience fear and anxiety. Only unlike people, dogs can’t control their reactions—and some even resort to injuring themselves or destroying property around them because they’re trying to escape the situation.
That’s why my first piece of advice when it comes to fearful dogs is to not take them outside during a fireworks display. They can jump the fence and run off and get injured.
We’ve recently added a German Shepherd puppy into our family and with Independence Day just around the corner, it’s made me reminisce of all the foster dogs we’ve had in the past—some of which experienced crippling anxiety when it came to fireworks (as well as thunder storms).
So not only will I be using my experience to prepare for the worst with this new pup, I’d also like to share some tips with you (based on my personal experience) to help you keep your dog safe this Fourth of July.
Don’t Pet Them During This Time
Do not pet your dog when they’re in a frightened state as this can makes them think that it’s “ok” behavior (you’re simply reinforcing negative behavior by petting them). There’s a time for affection, and this is not one of them. Even the sweetest of dogs can react by biting, no matter how long they’ve been a member of your family. Keep a watchful eye on them, but ignore the behavior. They’ll get through it.
Let Them Chill In An Empty Tub
We used to own a lab mix who was horribly terrified of fireworks and thunderstorms. And her favorite place to hide during these events was our bathtub. She felt safe there.
After doing some research, I had learned that dogs enjoy laying in bathtubs during storms and other loud events because the metal pipes underneath the tub act as an electrical grounding device and dogs release static electricity there which helps them feel a lot calmer—almost like a pacifier.
It actually makes a lot of sense.
So the next time your dog feels scared during a storm or during the Fourth of July, let your dog into the bathroom and just put any away anything that they might accidentally destroy like toilet paper and any bath rug.
Give Them Some Melatonin
If your dog reacts in an extreme way to the point where they’re being destructive to themselves or property, then a sedative is perfectly fine to use as a last result—like melatonin (please double check with your vet first!)
While you can absolutely get a prescription strength anxiety aid from your veterinarian, you can certainly purchase calming chews for your dog online. Even giving them melatonin is perfectly safe as long as it’s 1mg per 20 pounds.
Sedatives might not knock your dog out completely, but they will calm your pet down a great deal so they can relax.
Wrap Some Compression Wear Around Them
Compression wear such as the ThunderShirt is a great solution for some dogs. Personally I have had two different results with this one—it worked on my chihuahua, but not on my lab mix—so it definitely is a hit or miss.
These pet compression shirts provide gentle pressure around your dog’s torso, making him or her feel like they’re being given a continuous hug. It’s definitely worth a try and if it doesn’t work, you can always return the product.