Saturday, July 2, 2011

Dr. Jon's 4 Tips to Keep Your Dog Calm During the Fireworks

From Dr. Jon's newsletter

It's 4th of July weekend and many cities and municipalities are having their fireworks displays.  The weekend will be filled with picnics and parties too.  All that excitement adds up to a lot of fun - but it also represents a lot of potential dangers for your dog.

The most common dog owner complaint during the 4th of July weekend is their dog's reaction to fireworks. The combination of loud noises and bright lights can scare dogs that don't normally have a history of noise phobias.
Some dogs will exhibit signs of fear that can include pacing, panting, trembling, salivating, trying to escape and/or barking. Many dogs will actually injure themselves when trying to escape. (I've even seen dogs that had been hit by a car trying to flee from noises.)

What can you do to help keep your dog calm during the fireworks? Here are some tips.
1. Don't take your dog to the fireworks. Make sure he or she is calm at home. Or stay home with your dog during the fireworks.  Keep your dog confined in a comfortable location if possible.
2. Don't try too hard to reassure your dog during a fearful event with petting, soothing words, or extra attention as this can sometimes exacerbate the problem by reinforcing your dog's fearful response.
3. Some dogs are very sensitive to peoples' moods, so they may be influenced by the way that you react to the noise. It is best to act happy and upbeat or to redirect your dog's attention to some absorbing activity.
4. If you must leave your dog alone, consider what would make your dog most comfortable. Bring your dog indoors.  Would your dog feel safest in a crate? Turn on the radio/television/fan/air conditioner as ("white noise"). Make sure you provide a comfortable hiding place or "safe place" in case your dog is scared during the fireworks.

Kiara Ann will be wearing her thundershirt and bandanna from the CP Mall. It's going to be a GREAT weekend!

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