Jun 30, 2019
10 SAFETY AND CALMING TIPS FOR DOGS
In the United States, July 4th is around the corner, along with
the fireworks that inevitably come with this holiday. Almost all
humans with canines in the U.S. declare this day the worst day of
the year for their dogs. Veterinarians say that July 3rd is usually
the most trafficked day in their offices, with clients coming in to
get drugs for their dogs.
A few years ago, I found a lost dog on the 4th of July. He was
obviously a well fed, groomed, and trained dog that escaped his
yard when he heard the fireworks. When I called our local Humane
Society, I was informed that it is the busiest time of the year for
them, as more dogs are found wandering loose on July 4th than any
other day of the year in the U.S.
10 Tips for providing a safe July 4th for your Canine
- Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise earlier in the
- Keep your dogs inside during fireworks, preferably with human
companionship. If it’s hot, air conditioning will help. Bringing
your dogs to a fireworks display is never a good idea.
- Provide a safe place inside for your dogs to retreat. When
scared of sounds they can’t orient, dogs often prefer small
enclosed areas. (I once had a dog who climbed in the bathtub during
windstorms.) If your dog is comfortable in a crate, that is a good
- If possible, keep the windows and curtains closed. Covering the
crate or lowering the blinds can also be helpful. Removing visual
stimulation can also help calm dogs.
- Make sure all your dogs are wearing ID tags with a properly
fitting collar. Dogs have been known to become Houdini around the
4th of July.
- Leave your dog something fun to do – like a
frozen Kong filled with his favorite treats.
Using sensory enrichment to calm dogs:
- Sound Therapy: The psychoacoustically designed music
of Through a Dog's Ear has been
specifically designed to reduce canine anxiety and has been
successfully utilized by dog lovers world-wide. It is most
effective when you first play the music well before the fireworks
start, at a time the dog is already feeling peaceful and relaxed.
He will begin to associate the music with being calm and content.
Then play the music a couple of hours before the fireworks start
and continue to play through bedtime. The music doesn’t need to be
loud to be effective as it has been clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous
system. Listen to free sound samples.
- Sound Therapy combined with Desensitization: The Canine Noise Phobia series (CNP) consists of
four CD's that can be used individually or as a set: Fireworks,
Thunderstorms, City Sounds, and Calming. CNP is an innovative
desensitization training tool that combines three distinctive
elements for the treatment and prevention
of sound-sensitivities and noise-phobias:
- progressive sound effects (distant/close)
- specially-designed psychoacoustic music (Through a Dog’s
- reward-based reinforcement protocols (Victoria Stilwell)
Here's what Nancy Weller said after using CNP Fireworks:
"I am preparing for New Years Eve. The most skittish of the
greyhounds already went to bed. My boy is just game for everything.
Tonight, we are relaxing to the Phobia Series Fireworks. He fights
hard to stay awake. The subtle fireworks make him stare at the
speaker. Then not. 75+ lb brindle boy, sleeping like a baby. Mom
might have to curl up too."
- Tactile: There are two canine wraps on the market that
reportedly help sound phobic dogs. The original Anxiety Wrap was invented by
professional dog trainer Susan Sharpe, CPDT-KA. The patented design
uses acupressure and maintained pressure to reduce stress.
The thundershirt is also a wrap
for your dog that provides gentle, constant pressure. Their website
reports that over 85% of Thundershirt users see significant
improvement in noise anxiety symptoms. Most dogs respond with the
very first usage; some need 2-3 usages before showing significant
- Scent: Canine Calm, an all-natural mist
from Earth Heart™ Inc., can help dogs relax and cope more
effectively with loud noises and other stressful situations.
Directions on their website say to spray Canine Calm onto your
hands and massage the dog’s outer ears or abdomen. Or lightly mist
the air behind your dog’s head, inside the travel crate or car, or
directly onto bedding or clothing.
Do you have any additional tips for helping keep dogs calm and
safe on this noisy holiday? Thanks for clicking comment below and
sharing your suggestions. Also, feel free to share how your dogs
have acted during previous July 4th holidays.