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5 Ways To Help Your Dog With the 4th

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This weekend will mean lots of noise from fireworks, and could mean lots of stress for a dog afraid of loud noises.

The June 2011 issue of Whole Dog Journal offers these suggestions to help manage your dog’s loud noise stress:

  • Stay home. Your pet will not be as stressed if you’re there to comfort her.
  • Hold your dog. If your dog approaches you wanting to sit in your lap, let her. Stay calm and reassure her to minimize her stress.
  • Minimize effects of the stimuli. Close the curtains to limit the visual stimulus that your dog associates to the noise. Playing relaxing music can help mask the loud sounds of the fireworks.

Another item that works for many dogs with storm anxiety is the Thunder Shirt. It swaddles dogs to give them a sense of security when loud noises start. Although formulated for storm anxiety, it
should work well for fireworks anxiety too.

  • Counter conditioning. This is a longer term approach. Play a CD with storm sounds to get your pet comfortable with the noise. Start with the volume very low, and have something she loves, like a favorite toy or treat available. Continue this until your dog begins equating the sound with the positive reinforcement.

When the real storm or fireworks begin, start the positive reinforcement as soon as possible to ideally minimize your pet’s stress.

  • Drugs. I would say this should be the last measure. It is best to consult your vet to determine if drugs are needed and which one would be best for your pet.

Have a safe and fun holiday weekend!


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