Big Pupi on the blog today:
Hey folks. I'm sure all of our American buddies are preparing for the big 4th of July celebration this year and that can mean lots of BBQ feasting and visits from friends and family. That part of the partying can be a great time, but not all dogs deal well once the sun goes down and the fireworks fly skyward. I know that Stanislaw has some severe noise phobias. This will be his first 4th of July with our family and we're not sure how he will react, however we're preparing ourselves for a very panicked pup.
What can your humans do to help you if you're terrified of the skyplosions?
First off, if you have free access to the outdoors this should be limited. Windows should be closed and doors shut. It is extremely common for a frightened dog to try to escape his yard, house, or even jump out a window in an attempt to escape what's frightening him. If you are large enough to break through a bug screen make sure that the actual window or door itself is shut tight. The last thing you want is to miss the celebration leftovers, so make sure you're home and hungry the next day!
Another easy way to calm a scared pup is to keep her in the basement or a dog-safe room where the outside noises are muffled. Turn on a radio or the TV to further drown out the sound. If she is crate-trained, then an extra blankie or two can help make a dog feel snuggled and safer and the crate provides added security that a flight-prone pup won't run away.
If the distress during skyplosions is mild, then a puzzle toy could do the trick. Make sure it is tricky enough to last throughout the fireworks, and that the treat inside is a high-value reward that is sure to please. I'll take some peanut butter in my Everlasting Fun Ball please!
Some dogs respond extremely well to a physical sense of security. This can mean a nice little massage from the humans or even something like a snug t-shirt or an anxiety wrap. Imagine it almost like being hugged all over - it's secure and supportive and feels great. While some dogs respond to food distractions, others may react best to a change in tactile sensations during times of stress.
Rescue Remedy is also a common way to treat anxiety. It is a selection of flower essences that can be given orally, rubbed onto fur or skin or used in an infuser. This product has a calming effect and it is a natural way to alleviate stress. Just make sure to follow proper dosage guidelines. There are recipes online for a homemade version of Rescue Remedy which use essential oils, instead of the product's flower essences. If you choose to make your own this way, keep in mind that essential oils should NEVER be used on or near cats.*
Another all-natural way to help a dog with anxiety is through good old fashioned exercise. A dog that is physically and mentally exhausted is more likely to remain relaxed through the skyplosion spectacular. Don't go overboard with this one though. While exercise is always beneficial, a dog can get too much of a good thing. If overworked and taken past the point of exhaustion, a pup can become more irritable and stressed. We added an extra 20 minutes onto our walk this morning - nothing too strenuous, but just enough to make us work a tiny bit more than what we're used to. A nice workout usually keeps us rather mellow through the day, and we're tired and ready for a night's sleepies at around 8pm.
If your case is so severe that none of the above will help, then tell your human to give your doctor a call. They may recommend Benedryl to help you sleep through the stressful time, or some other medical means to help you cope. Of course - don't try any medications whatsoever unless supervised by your vet, as many human meds can be lethal for us pups. And if your human doesn't want to go this route, they can always make plans for you to stay with a friend that lives far enough away from the skyplosions that they won't bother you. Or, you and your person can take a drive out to where the scary sounds can't be heard, and wait out the celebrations.
Hopefully you can deal with the fireworks just fine, but if you can't there are many ways to handle the situation and control your stress. Just make sure you're safe and your people are keeping an eye out for you. Personally, I think about 4th of July celebration feasts and that gets me though the fireworks just fine. Mmm... BBQ taste explosions of deliciousness in my mouth. It's a good holiday.
Happy 4th of July!
*A special THANK YOU to Jessica for correcting our Rescue Remedy information. We were originally under the impression that it was made with essential oils, but it is in fact made with flower essences. This once again proves that we are not experts, doctors, or scientists and the information posted is the result of our own personal research and because of this, there can be mistakes. While we do our very best to prevent any misinformation from being posted, let's face it - it happens, and we rely on friendly folks like Jessica for pointing us the in right direction. So THANKS again!