Lizzi & Rocco's Natural Pet Market

Fourth of July Pet Safety Guide

Fourth of July is fun for us humans- but for our furry friends, the loud noises and activities can be a source of significant stress and anxiety.  Fear of fireworks often leads to reactions in dogs, ranging from milder symptoms such as cowering and pacing, to vomiting or escaping the house or yard.

Starting preparation well in advance is crucial to ensuring your dog has a stress-free Fourth of July. Understanding your pet’s needs and taking proactive measures can help them stay calm and comfortable amidst the chaos! You can utilize a lot of these tricks and tools together to give your pet their calmest Fourth of July yet!

Things you can do in advance of the Fourth of July: Work on Desensitizing Dogs to Scary Noises

Desensitizing a dog to scary sounds like fireworks involves gradually exposing them to the sounds in a controlled and positive manner. Our head dog trainer, Jennen Herbst, recommends doing this method when possible.

  1. Start with Low Volume: Begin by playing recordings of fireworks at a very low volume. Make sure the sound is barely noticeable to avoid startling your dog. 
  2. Pair with Positive Experiences: While the sounds are playing, engage your dog in enjoyable activities such as playing with their favorite toy, giving treats, or practicing commands with positive reinforcement. The goal is to associate the sound with positive experiences.
  3. Gradually Increase Volume: Slowly increase the volume of the fireworks recordings over several sessions. Ensure your dog remains relaxed and comfortable at each level before moving to a higher volume.
  4. Consistency is Key: Conduct these desensitization sessions regularly, ideally daily, for a few minutes at a time. Consistency helps reinforce the positive association with the sounds.
  5. Monitor Your Dog’s Reactions: Pay close attention to your dog’s body language. If they show signs of anxiety or distress, reduce the volume and return to a level where they were comfortable. Progress at your dog’s pace.
  6. Stay Calm and Supportive: Your demeanor can influence your dog’s reactions. Stay calm and composed, offering reassurance and support to help your dog feel safe.

By following these steps, you can help your dog become more accustomed to the sounds of fireworks, reducing their fear and anxiety over time.

Things you can do in advance: Trial CBD and Calming Supplements 

Calming supplements with or without CBD can be very useful at helping to keep your pets calm when there are lots of fireworks happening. Our Nutrition Development Education Coordinator, Maddie Webb, recommends that rather than using calming supplements for the first time right before the holiday, try them now to see what dosage works best for your pet. CBD and calming supplements can absolutely be incorporated into desensitization training, Thundershirt use, and other calming methods! 

A handsome pup gets ready to dig into an enrichment treat on the Fourth of July.
Lincoln getting ready to dig into a distracting and soothing Enrichment Treat Toy!

Things you can do in advance: Gather the Things 

There are a lot of great items available that can help your pet feel its best during the Fourth of July fireworks season or when dealing with other stressors. These are just a few of our favorite items

Thundershirts: Thundershirts can be soothing for dogs and cats because they apply gentle, constant pressure to the animal’s torso, which can have a calming effect. This pressure is similar to swaddling a baby or hugging a person, providing a sense of security and comfort. The sensation can help reduce anxiety by triggering the release of calming hormones like oxytocin and endorphins. 

Calming Collars: Calming collars use your pet’s body heat to release calming pheromones or herb smells. Think of it like a spa diffuser they can wear!

Supplements: There are a variety of supplements for both dogs and cats that can help them calm down in stressful situations. Ingredients like Melatonin, Valerian Root,  Thiamine and L-Tryotophan, Chamomile, and more all help to support relaxed behaviors. These supplements are made as tasty chews, oils, peanut butter and more. Pair them with an enrichment toy like a Toppl to help calm your pet even more!

Diffusers: There are diffusers for both cats and dogs that promote relaxation by releasing calming pheromones. Just plug them into your wall, and let them work their magic! 

Things you can do in advance: Tag ‘em! 

More pets go missing on Fourth of July than any other day of the year. An ID tag with up-to-date contact information significantly increases the chances of a lost pet being quickly reunited with their owner. If your pet has a chip, make sure that information is up-to-date as well!

The morning of the Fourth of July: Get the Energy Out 

Make sure you take a walk or get in other exercise with your dog the morning/afternoon of the Fourth. Exercise can tire them out, making them more likely to rest and remain calm during the evening’s festivities. A well-exercised dog is also less likely to engage in destructive behavior due to stress. Additionally, like us humans, regular exercise boosts overall mood and well-being, helping them cope better with the loud noises associated with fireworks.

A cute dog getting ready to exercise out his energy on the fourth of July
Chuck getting ready to play away his energy for the day!

When things are about to get lit: Create a Safe Space

A ‘chill out’ zone for your pet provides a secure, calm environment where your pet can feel protected and less exposed to the scary noises on the Fourth of July. This can help prevent and reduce panic and stress-induced behaviors. 

  1. Choose a Quiet Room: Select a room in your home that is as far away from the noise as possible. Close windows, blinds, and doors to muffle the sound and light of fireworks.
  2. Comfortable Environment: Make the space comfortable with their favorite bedding, toys, and blankets. Familiar items can provide comfort and reduce anxiety.
  3. Background Noise: Play calming music or white noise to help drown out the sound of fireworks. This can create a more soothing environment.
  4. Safe Hiding Spot: Make a secure hiding spot for your pet, such as a crate with the door open or a covered area where your pet can retreat if they feel scared.
  5. Stay Calm: Your presence can be very comforting. If possible, stay with your pet to provide reassurance. Pets can often sense their owner’s emotions, so remaining calm can help them feel more at ease.

When things are about to get lit: Distract Them

Not only do enrichment toys keep your pet’s brain focused on other things, but licking is a calming activity for both dogs and cats. Lickmats, Toppls, and Pupsicles are all great soothing enrichment toys. For dogs, you can also incorporate calming peanut butter or Stashio’s soothing sauce for double the calming action. Learn more about our favorite enrichment toys and treats here

When things are about to get lit: Best Friend Time 

When the fireworks are at their peak, if you can make yourself available for snuggles and comfort for your pet! 

We hope this guide helps you and your pet have the calmest and best Fourth of July ever! If you have questions on anything, stop by and see us, we are more than happy to help!

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