Summer is here! Temperatures have risen! And the sun is shining! June is halfway over (believe it or not) which means the 4th of July is coming up! America's Independence Day is one of the most popular national holidays in the USA as it celebrates our freedom and independence from Great Britain with the passage of the Declaration of Independence. To celebrate this special holiday, Americans spend the day swimming, cooking out, BBQing, and spending time with family and friends. At the end of the day, after the sun sets, the real celebrations start with beautiful, dazzling firework displays all over the country. City by city, community by community, fireworks go off for Americans across the U.S. to enjoy. And while we may enjoy the bright lights and loud booms, our pets, on the other hand, do not.

Anxiety in Dogs

Like humans, dogs can experience anxiety. Common types of anxiety dogs experience include separation anxiety, travel anxiety, loud noise anxiety, and confinement anxiety. All types of anxiety can negatively affect a dog, which is why it's important to pay attention to your pet's behavior. Anxiety in dogs can range from mild cases that can be relieved with general reassurance to severe cases where your dog may need medications. Your dog's past experiences, current situation, and personality will determine how severe their anxiety is.

How to Tell If My Dog Has Anxiety

Dogs express their anxiety in several ways. For example, dogs that suffer from separation anxiety may sense that your getting ready to leave your house and may start following you around your house or whine. When you leave, they may get nervous or anxious and may end up chewing on something they're not supposed to.

Dogs who experience confinement anxiety are afraid of small places and may push back or even bite if you try to kennel them or shut them in a room. Dogs who suffer from travel anxiety often pant excessively and are uncomfortable during travel.

Dogs who experience noise anxiety fear loud noises. Fireworks, gunshots, knocking on a door, or the sound of a hammer can be extra scary to dogs who suffer from loud noise anxiety. Common symptoms your dog is suffering from loud noise anxiety include:

  • Pacing
  • Excessive panting
  • Shaking uncontrollably
  • Whining
  • Digging
  • Destructive chewing
  • Running away

If your dog has displayed any of these symptoms after experiencing a loud noise, chances are, your dog suffers from loud noise anxiety. If you know your dog suffers from loud noise anxiety, prepare your home before fireworks start going off. Keep reading to learn how.

Helping Your Dog Stay Calm During 4th of July Fireworks

There are several steps you can take ahead of time to prepare your dog for the 4th of July celebrations.

First, set up a safe space for your dog to retreat to. Dogs are natural denning creatures who look for den-like areas to retreat to when they feel unsafe. To set up a denning space in your home, get a plastic kennel and a bed and set it up in a room of your home. Add some of your dog's favorite toys and a shirt or blanket that smells like you. Plastic kennels like the Aspen Pet Pet Porter caters to your pet's denning instincts with hard walls that surround your pet and cut outs that still let your dog see what's going on around them. Tap here to learn more about the benefits of plastic kennels.

Second, make it an early night. Take your dog out for a walk while the sun is still up. Doing so will get your pet some exercise and tire him or her out. Who knows, your dog may end up sleeping through all the firework celebrations! After your walk, be sure to feed your dog early so that they have time to eat and digest their food beforehand. Keep your dog's water bowl full with fresh water, as excessive panting can cause your dog to be extra thirsty. Also, be sure to let your dog out to do his business before the sun sets. IF you decide to let your dog out after the sun sets, be sure to take him on a leash, unless you know 100% that your fence is secure and there are no holes your dog can escape through.

Third, prepare your home. As the sun sets and you know fireworks are about to start, shut all your windows and lock them so that they are sealed. Draw your curtains to hide any bright lights or flashes. Place a towel in any cracks on your door frames or unsealed windows. Lastly, turn up the TV or radio louder than usual to help block out any firework noises.

Once the fireworks start and you notice your dog having anxiety, be sure to provide your dog with as much comfort as possible. Let him up on the couch for one night so that he can be right next to you. Be sure to reassure your dog that it's ok and keep a positive tone in your voice. Some dogs like having a blanket or shirt wrapped tightly around them. Others like to retreat and be left alone, which is 100% okay! If your dog is seeking your comfort, never shun him or her away as it could cause your dog's anxiety to worsen. If your dog is chewing, be sure to provide him with durable chew toys to release their anxiety. Remember, you know your dog best. So be sure to pay attention to their behavior and provide them with comfort when needed.

a lady comforting a dog who is experiencing anxiety

MICROCHIPPING

Did you know that more pets get lost in July than any other month of the year?! This is in part due to the number of cookouts and parties people have in their homes. As people go in and out of the house, pets are able to escape their open doors easier while their owners are distracted. Another reason is that families are out of the house more and pets are often left with pet sitters who may not pay as much attention. The last reason is due to firework celebrations on July 4th. Since fireworks are loud, dogs who are outside may run away to get away from the source of the loud noises. This is why vets all over the country recommend we microchip our pets. Doing so helps rescuers locate the dog's parents faster and more efficiently. So, if you know your dog is a master escape artist AND suffers from loud noise anxiety, be sure to get your dog microchipped just in case.

Conclusion

Like humans, dogs suffer from anxiety too. There are many common types of dog anxiety. Dogs who suffer from loud noise anxiety have an extreme fear of loud, unexpected noises., If you know your dog suffers from this, prepare for 4th of July ahead of time. Taking small steps like turning up the TV and rewarding positive behavior can be extremely helpful to your dog.

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