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Dogs and Fireworks - Tractor Supply Co.

Dogs and Fireworks: How To Keep Your Pal Sane This Independence Day

While thundering fireworks may elicit “ooh’s” and “ah’s” from us humans, our four­legged pals don’t often feel the same sense of wonder. According to the ASPCA, July 5th is the busiest day for animal shelters nationwide due to the large number of pets that flee into the night after panicking at the noise of firecrackers or fireworks. Preparation and attentiveness to your dog’s specific needs will be key in keeping your best friend safe and calm this Independence Day.

The most commonly given, yet underused, tip is to keep your dog inside your home. While your pal may not attempt to escape your yard normally, the crackling of fireworks could elicit a panic that causes them to do just that. Keeping your dog inside will insulate them from the sounds of a loud fireworks display. If your dog does not have a crate or bed inside the house, try setting up the travel kennel so he has a place he can retreat to and also feel safe in.

If you know your dog and fireworks don’t mix, it’s best for you or someone they trust to be at home with him. If you plan on being home, take your dog on a long walk or stretch playtime a little longer than usual to wear him out and put him in a calmer state. Remember, dogs communicate with energy and will look to you, their pack leader, for clues on how they should behave. Acting un-phased by the sound of fireworks will ultimately translate back to your four-legged friend.

If you have to be away, you should arrange to either have your dog taken to a friend or relative’s home or find a sitter who will stay with your pal on his home turf. Make sure to have an array of his favorite toys at the ready to help distract them once the fireworks begin.

Desensitization is another common tactic used to prepare dogs for the sounds of fireworks. This approach involves playing the recorded fireworks sounds for your four­legged friend at an increasingly louder volume prior to meal time, walks and affection. Playing the sounds during these specific times will over time condition him into associating these noises with positive experiences. It’s important to note that this type of conditioning does take time ­ often months.

For dogs still working through desensitization or those displaying extremely anxious behavior at the sound of fireworks, your veterinarian may suggest a mild form of sedation to help keep their anxiety levels under control.

We hope you and your pal have a happy and safe Independence Day! Remember these tips are your first step toward a successful evening with your dog and fireworks. Best of luck out there, and Happy Independence Day from your friends at 4health!