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Is Your Dog Afraid of Fireworks & Thunderstorms?

Is Your Dog Afraid of Fireworks & Thunderstorms?

Our roller coaster approach to summer is in full swing, with thunderstorms and hail keeping us on our toes! For many dogs in central Oregon, thunder is no fun at all.  But perhaps worse for many dogs is the 4thof July and…. dare we say it, fireworks. Between lighting our yards on fire, burning our clothes, chasing kids with sparklers who are chasing kids, and figuring out a vantage point to watch Pilot Butte light up…the 4th of July can be quite a chaotic time for pets and people!
 
Here are some tips on how to help make these frightening times a little less frightening (and safer!) for your 4-legged friends:
  1.  Make sure your pet has ID on them. Collar and microchip. It’s important. Our local humane societies reach max capacity EVERY YEAR over 4th of July with all the dogs that panic during fireworks and run away. EVERY YEAR this happens. Please have identification on your pet.
  2. During the week of 4th of July, when your enthusiastic neighbors are testing their fireworks for the big day, do not leave your dog outside unattended. The same goes for days when thunderstorms are forecasted. Don’t leave them the backyard while you go to work or run to the store. They are going to panic and jump (or dig) and run. And not be there when you get home. A happy ending is they end up safely at the humane society or with a neighbor.  A sad ending is they get injured or lost.
  3. Put your pet in a quiet place- ideally, the most sound-proof part of the house, and close the doors.
  4. If they are crate-trained, have them in their crate. We want them in a place they feel safe and secure.
  5. Provide some kind of white noise- a fan works great. Music, radio and TV generally don’t work well because they all have sound fluctuations. You want something that generates a steady sound.
  6. Sedatives to help calm your pet are available from your veterinarian. For many pets they must be given hours before the thunderstorm or fireworks in order to work. Give the sedative, and make sure your pet is then kept quiet and calm so they get the best effect. This is very important. If your pet is exercised or otherwise stimulated after giving the sedative, it is not going to work as well.
Dogs that display mild signs of anxiety can often be distracted by treats, new toys, playing a game of fetch, or engaging them in some favorite activity. These are all great things to do with your pet to help them associate scary loud noises with good things. 
 
If you have further questions, please feel free to give us a call!
Here’s to a happy and healthy summer!
Sarah Cummings