Much as those on Game of Thrones are always ominously muttering about Winter is Coming…the 4th of July is coming…and you and your dog must be prepared.
While not as deadly as dragons, Stark weddings and well, everything on Game of Thrones, the 4th carries its own dangers for your dog. There are a few more things you can do to prep your home and dog for this most dreaded day in the Game of Dogs. OK, I'm stopping with the Game of Thrones references...I promise.
Hide Behind the Wall
Is it possible to sequester your dog away somewhere where they cannot hear, see or smell the fireworks. Do you have a friend or relative whose home is in a fireworks free area? Is there a boarding kennel or Doggie Day Care that offers a quieter environment? Be sure and take familiar items with your dog (and their crate) so they will be contained, just in case an errant reveler sets off fireworks unexpectedly.
Everybody Needs Someone Like Hodor
Do you have a trusted friend you can ask or hire stay home with your dog and keep them company during the festivities? Draw straws, ask for volunteers, take turns, you will be able to figure it out.
De-sensitize Your Dog - Go All Science On Them
Another method I read about, but have never tried as it requires way more advance planning than I am capable of, is to acclimate your dog to the sound of fireworks. Supposedly you get a recording of fireworks and play it quietly at first and then, over time, progressively louder and louder until it is the approximate decibel level of real fireworks. This is to be done over a period of months (see, I am in awe of the people who can do this-good for them) and may need to be used in conjunction with other methods. Here is a link to Victoria Stilwell's Canine Noise Phobias series that I've hear good reviews on.
Another method I have not personally used is the restraining/comforting method – like Thundershirts. I cannot fathom wresting a 120+ pound, scared, stressed, powerful Great Pyrenees into a tight garment, but maybe I am just a wimp. These compression type garments work by squeezing the dog and making them feel secure. This is similar in theory to the heavy blankets and lap pads used for ADHD or Autistic kids to help them feel safe. Temple Grandin writes about this and it is fascinating. That was a digression, but I love her work.
Dogs Won't Judge You
Don't feel bad your dog is missing out on a festive 4th of July with the family. They will have plenty of family fun when the dreaded fireworks are over. Dogs aren't like us, they won't bring it up, over and over, and judge you for not taking them to the fireworks display.
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