"Fido Fears Fireworks" by Lillian Sikorski

Traditionally, we celebrate the 4th of July with friends, family & fireworks. Fun for us humans but not so much for our dogs. As the vivid colors burst in the sky and loud blasts make us OOH and AAH, some dogs are heading for cover.

Research shows canines have three times as many muscles devoted to hearing than humans and the range of frequencies a dog can hear is at least twice that of the range for people. No wonder some dogs try to flee from the noise of fireworks.

Many dogs try to escape the noise and will also exhibit a variety of stress signals such as; panting, pacing, trembling, licking their lips, and even finding a way out even it means crashing through a glass door.

If your dog fears the noise of fireworks try the follow suggestions to help curb their fear:
1) Keep your pets indoors and make sure they have access to a safe and comfortable place; preferably in a room here they cannot see the fireworks
2) Keep them occupied with games they enjoy, a favorite chew to relieve the anxiety or a dog puzzle to re-direct their thinking
3) Exercise them more than usual that day. This tires them out and helps relieve stress
4) Instead of coddling, which reinforces the fear; apply ‘T-Touch’ – a form of massage for dogs. Dogs hold stress, anxiety & tension in their hip area. Gently apply a slow circular motion to that area to eliminate fear.
5) Another T-Touch massage is to gently rub the base of their ears with your thumbs as this can calm them as well
6) Some dog owners claim the product ‘Thunder Shirts’ calm their dogs

To help address future anxiety, begin desensitizing your dog using the tips listed above. Have a safe and Happy 4th of July.

Lillian Sikorski is a local business owner and professional dog trainer.
(First posted July 2013)

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