It’s mid-summer and that means the 4th of July Fireworks are fast approaching. Pet’s afraid of fireworks? Fireworks & Thunderstorm anxiety affects many dogs. There are many ways you can help your pet relieve their anxiety.
CBD Oils and Treats
CBD oils and treats might be of some help for your pets. These are not available in our Online Shop but we do carry an assortment in our shops.
As a reminder, there are no short or long-term negatives to giving a dog a higher level of CBD than what they might be used to...try slowly increasing the amount you give and they might become really calm or even head off for a nap. This is certainly a better alternative than having a stressed-out dog.
Kat from Austin and Kat (whose products we LOVE!) has some great suggestions to help our pets through the stress of fireworks and even summer storms.
Tips to Calm Your Dog During Fireworks Season (Austin and Kat Blog Post)
- Keep your pet in a secured, safe environment within your home.
Even a fenced yard cannot guarantee that your pet will be secure. If you have a room without windows or a large closet, place your dog's bed in there and create a nesting place. They will appreciate a tight safe place and dampened noise. Crates or their preferred safe place, covered with blankets can work as well. White noise or comforting music can also help downplay fireworks and ease pets' stress.
- Make sure their microchip and ID tags are up to date.
And have multiple emergency numbers to contact if available. The more numbers to contact the better. This way, if your pet does happen to get out, and you have a better chance of being reunited with them. Remember, pets are known to instinctively run far, far away from the noises (and tracking them down sure is difficult in the commotion that follows).
- Stock up on stress relievers prior to the 4th of July!
It is important to set your dog up for success. So, easing them into a routine with comforting products will work better than trying new products during the fireworks.
CBD can be a great tool to help keep your pet calm. If you haven’t used CBD before make sure to give it a try at least a week in advance to find a good baseline serving for your pet, specifically. If you use CBD already you may want to increase the dose the day prior and continue through July 5th. Just because the 4th of July is designated as a holiday doesn’t mean your neighbor doesn’t want to continue the party with leftover fireworks the next day.*
- If at all possible skip the parties and stay home with your animal.
Not only are fireworks loud and scary for pets, but being left alone can increase their anxiety. If you have to be away from the home, coordinate with a friend or neighbor to check in on your dog or find a boarding facility prepared for this type of event.
- Keep your pet busy beforehand.
A tired dog is a happy dog so make sure to exercise your pup early in the day and provide lick mats, fun chews or puzzle toys to keep them busy. Don’t try and exercise or take your dog outside after the sun sets, this is prime fireworks time!
*To prepare your pet for the 4th of July, we recommend starting your pet on CBD a week (or at the very least 2-3 days) beforehand and continuing through July 5th (or whenever your neighbors run out of fireworks.)
On Independence Day, start CBD before noon and continue to dose every 4-6 hours through 11 pm to ensure your animal is fully prepared for whatever happens during the day AND night. A sleeping, calm dog is much better than an overactive stressed animal.
Remember CBD may take up to an hour to start taking effect, so plan accordingly.
If you're already using CBD, try increasing the dose in the days prior to an event like the 4th of July and continue through at least the 5th of July. Start increasing the dosage 6-7 days prior to the event and continue a day or two afterward. Make sure you start your first dose before Noon and continue to dose every 4-6 hours through 11 pm so your pet is fully prepared for whatever happens during the Day and the Night.
Training and Conditioning for Long-Term Help with Noise Issues
Training and counter-conditioning before the event can help desensitize your pet to a point where your pet no longer reacts negatively to the various stimuli but this can take some time and patience and is a good long-term solution.
Counter-conditioning your pet uses treats or other toys to your advantage. Associating a positive experience with something that may frighten your dog can often help reduce your pet’s anxiety levels. Have a storm puppy party and toss treats on the floor when it thunders. It can really help them begin to associate thunder with good things like treats. Try to do this before your dog is really anxious. There are CDs available that can help you train without an actual thunderstorm going on.
Here’s an example of how we did this with our dog Foster. He would get very agitated when the smoke alarm goes off and run through the house and be quite anxious. Here’s how we worked with him. We watched a recent episode of Modern Family and a key element in the show was a smoke detector going off. Foster heard the first beep on the TV and began to get anxious. We didn’t want him to be stressed during the entire show so we came up with this solution. He’s clicker trained so we got out some treats and with each beep of the smoke alarm on the show, he got a treat. By the end of the show, he was anxiously awaiting the treats and not worrying about the alarms. So then he began to look to us for treats when he hears the smoke alarm go off instead of anxiously running through the house.
In addition to behavior modification, you can take a natural and holistic approach to reduce your pet’s anxiety through the use of various natural herbs, flower essences, and energy healing. These are safe ways to help your pet deal with their anxiety. Some work right away and some require a bit more time to work in their system. No product or technique will work for every pet but these products are great natural options for your pet.
Four Muddy Paws carries several products that can help reduce your pet's stress levels and our staff can help you decide what fits your situation best.
*Remember that we cannot share our CBD products on our OnLine shop - please stop in the shop and we can show you our options.
Heavenly Hounds Calming Chews
Austin and Kat
Animal Essentials Tranquility Blend
Herbsmith Third of July
Ark Natural Happy Traveler
Thunderspray - with Pheremones
Suzies CBD Treats
Primal CBD Supplements for Dogs and Cats
Color and music therapy can also be effective in helping your pet in addition to regular energy healing sessions. They can be very helpful both with storms as well as separation anxiety.
An excellent book to read on this subject is Energy Healing for Dogs by Nicole Wilde. She offers numerous holistic solutions and techniques to help your pet deal with their anxiety issues.
Here are some other helpful tips to remember:
Have your dog go to their crate with an extra special treat. Covering your crate can help create a sense of security.
Get out a puzzle game for your dog to enjoy either with you or independently. This is helpful especially when you know a storm is coming in order to tire them out and relax them with some mental stimulation.
Keep out unwanted noises and visual stimuli by keeping them in an interior room with the windows closed and drapes drawn.
Mask other outside noises by keeping the AC on, playing music, having the television on or fan blowing to create some white noise.
Make sure your outside gates and fences are always closed and secure especially during and after guests have visited. Oftentimes guests who don’t have pets will leave the gate door open without thinking and your pet could escape their yard.
With some proper planning and anticipation of possible events that can be troubling to your pet, you can help reduce their anxiety and get through these sometimes challenging events.