The loud, unpredictable explosions that happen around the 4th of July can make some dogs really anxious and skittish – dogs who already have thunderstorm phobia usually react to fireworks with the same level of anxiety including trembling, panting, cringing, shaking and trying to hide.

This can be especially dangerous if you have left the house to go out to a Fourth of July barbeque or other festivity and a dog with these emotional issues has been left home alone – sometimes dogs will go so far as to try to escape the house by any means, including going through screen doors or even windows. It is reported that a number of dogs run past their owners or otherwise escape the house from the fear of fireworks, never to return.

If you have a dog you know to have thunderstorm phobia, you need to go out of your way to minimize his discomfort as people set off small firecrackers in the days surrounding July 4th, and of course during any public display of fireworks that might be close enough to your home to be seen or heard.

There are two scary aspects to fireworks for a dog – the sound (like thunder) and the sight (like lightning). The best favor you can do your dog is to put him in a room where he cannot see what is going on and hears as little as possible. If you have a room with dark drapes or blinds, put him there and close off all sight of the outside. If you have no existing window covering, see if you can rig up a blankets or board against the window to block out the visual stimulation if you are close enough that you can see the fireworks from your house. If you have any room in the house that does not have an outside wall (a bathroom, walk-in closet or pantry) that is a good solution to the problem.

As for the sound of fireworks, it helps to drown it out somewhat by playing pleasant music. There are soothing CD’s made by “Through a Dog’s Ear” for this purpose, but anything like pop tunes and even show tunes can be pleasantly loud – although I’d probably steer away from heavy metal or Wagnerian operas!

If you have used an Anxiety Wrap for thunderstorms for your dog and seen the benefits of a calming effect, do not hesitate to put it on your dog before dark (which is when most fireworks are set off) during the Fourth of July period.

Tracie Hotchner, author of The Dog Bible and The Cat Bible, guest blogs here every Thursday on healthy, natural choices for pets.

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  1. dianna says:

    this can be even more dangeous if you have a dog w/ IMHA whom is already affraid of fireworks in the past. i do not like this time of year as it can cause a relasp in IMHA .wishiong more pet owners learn more abot IMHA and the triggers.

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