June 29, 2022
8 Possible Solutions for 4th of July Dog Anxiety

Did you know that July 5th is the busiest day at the shelter? Because on the 4th of July, most dogs get spooked by the fireworks and run away.

Independence Day is the most festive and American holiday we have. American flags or colors of white, red, and blue are on display.

Fireworks, barbecues, hot dogs, and apple pies are everywhere. The food part can make your dog happy and excited. But fireworks can frighten the life out of them.

The noise can trigger their anxiety and aggravate their stress level.
An increase in unfamiliar visitors coming to your doorsteps, plus the rising temperature of the summer heat could get a bit too much for your dog.
But what can you do?

No matter how much you love your dogs and how much it hurts to see them suffer from anxiety, you cannot stop the 4th of July from happening.
Fireworks will be set off. People will still party and get loud. The temperature will continue to rise. 

Your dog is still more likely to feel anxious.
But don’t panic! Your dog needs you and you can help him get through this.

There are many possible solutions to reduce your dog's anxiety and make this year the best 4th of July ever for your pooch – and yourself. Here are eight things you can try:

8 Possible Solutions for 4th of July Dog Anxiety

1. Prepare your dog well in advance

If your dog is unfamiliar with the sound of fireworks, the best thing you can do is prepare them for the day in advance.

The more you can help familiarize them with the fireworks before your excited neighbors start letting them off, the easier it will be for them to handle the noise.

Try playing recordings of fireworks and getting your dog used to the noise. Ideally, you should start this process several weeks before July 4th.

This process is called desensitization. It’s when you expose your dogs to what triggers their anxiety until they don’t react negatively to it.

Dogs have excellent memories, so if they get used to the noise early on and even associate it with something good, it may just help reduce their anxiety on the 4th.

Give them treats and rewards whenever they show progress. Or at least try.

2. Keep Your Dog Fed & Hydrated

Give your dog a full meal before the fireworks start.
Prepare their favorite food, and if they’re comfortable around your guests, allow them to join the party.

One of the worst things that you can do is let them get hungry and thirsty while they're under stress.

Don’t neglect them.

It is summer, and it can get extremely hot. Dogs tend to pant and get dehydrated quickly, especially if they’re feeling stressed. Make sure your dog has plenty to drink during the day.

dog fireworks
(Image: Happy Hound)

3. Don’t leave your dog alone

Being left alone during a stressful holiday is almost as bad as being left alone in a thunderstorm.

If you need to be away during the holiday and bringing your dog along is not possible, ask a friend or family member to watch them.

The more people around to help keep your dog calm, the better. Choose someone your dog is comfortable with and who will surely take care of him. 

Ask if there is a kennel nearby that can keep your dog safe for you while you’re away. Or hire a reliable dog sitter.

As much as possible, stay by your dog’s side. Don’t make them feel abandoned during this difficult time.

4. Give Your Dog a Calming Supplement

Natural calming supplements are available in the market. They can help reduce anxiety in dogs.

Do your research and check the reviews.

Ask other fur moms and dads if they give anything to help their dogs relax during the 4th of July.

Consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any supplement, especially if your dog has a preexisting condition, is a senior, or is currently taking medicines.

When you've found a supplement your vet approves, test it on your dog weeks or days before the holiday.

Monitor how many hours have passed before you see any changes in your dog's behavior.

Observe if it will even help at all.

Your dog’s weight, size, age, and metabolism can affect the result.
This way, on July 4th, you can time when you should give your dog the supplement.

Try giving your dog B vitamins, particularly B1 or thiamine. Some dog parents have observed a decrease in anxiety and stress levels in their dogs with this vitamin.

5. Have a Comfort Object Ready

Does your dog have a comfort object?

It could be his favorite chew toy, an old shirt, socks, a ball, or his blanket.
Whatever it is, have it ready for July 4th.

When your dog gets anxious, he may start to chew on this special toy to cope with his stress.

Play soft music or a TV show that your dog loves to drown out the noise from the fireworks and help your dog relax.

6. Distraction and exercise with a purpose

Exercise can help in reducing anxiety in your dog.

Letting them run around the yard, playing fetch or catch with you can help them release some of their contained energy.

Exercise with a purpose. Give them a new lesson.

Teach them a new trick, how to catch a frisbee, or run around obstacles. This can help them focus on their training and not on the noise.

Exercising can help dogs relax and blow off steam. If your dog has plenty of pent-up energy, their anxiety will worsen when the fireworks start to go off.

7. Create a safe place or a safe spot for your dog

Find a spot where your dog could feel safe and comforted, where he can hide from the fireworks, loud noises, and chaos.

Ideally, create a safe place before July 4th, so your dog can get used to it.
A safe place can be anywhere inside your home. It can be a corner or room in your house, a specific area in their crate, or a fort you created.

See if your dog is comfortable in a dark room. If he is, shut the windows and draw the blinds, so your dog doesn’t see any bright flashes of light outside.

Find items you can put around the safe place to help reduce his anxiety. It could be his good old stuffed teddy bear or comfort blanket.

Add a diffuser for calming oil in the room.

A dog’s sense of smell is superior to humans. They have 300 million olfactory receptors, while humans only have six million.

Canine’s olfactory cortex, or the part of the brain that is devoted to scents, is 40x larger than humans.

Dogs love new and unique odors. So introducing them to calming scents may just take their minds off the hullabaloo going on around them on the 4th.

Here are some relaxing essential oils that could help reduce your dog’s anxiety:

  • Bergamot
  • Chamomile
  • Cedarwood
  • Clary sage
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium Bourbon
  • Lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Mandarin
  • Orange
  • Rose
  • Sandalwood
  • Tangerine
  • Valerian
  • Ylang Ylang

[It would be helpful to note that not all essential oils are safe for dogs. Do your research before diffusing oils around your pets.]

It may sound cheesy, but your dog’s safest place is still in your arms. Stay with them for as long as they need you. Hold their paw as they go through this ordeal.

8. Comfort them

Your presence and assurance are the most significant solutions your dog needs during the 4th of July mayhem.

Give your dog plenty of praise, petting, and love while they are in their safe place.

Final words

Dogs are special creatures. Don’t forget to include them and think about their state as you celebrate Independence Day.

Your dog may have been rescued from the streets, fighting ring, or racing track, so the sound of fireworks and loud cheering and laughter could trigger bad memories for them. 

Remember that they have super hearing. Dogs can hear sounds four times farther away than the human ear can pick, and high-pitched sounds humans cannot hear.

This makes their ears sensitive to all noises, especially fireworks.
Prepare your dog in advance, make sure they are fed and hydrated and don’t leave them alone. Give them calming supplements and create a safe place for them to relax.

Don’t forget to keep your dog inside the house during the celebration and securely close the door and gate.

You don’t want your dog to panic and run off while you are partying and celebrating your freedom.

These tips could help your dog deal with anxiety and have a happy and enjoyable 4th of July.

Know that you are still the best solution to help reduce your dog’s anxiety.

So, don’t panic!

Stay calm, think clearly, plan carefully, and give your dog all the love, support, and attention he needs. Happy 4th of July!

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