Top Tips for Dogs, Fireworks & the Fourth of July

How to help your dog deal with fireworks, loud noises and stress this Independence Day 2018

Humans love the pop, bang and sizzle of fireworks, but chances are your pooch probably doesn’t. Our team knows how to take precautions here at the Good Dog Hotel & Spa in order to help our overnight guests feel safe and secure. That’s why lots of dog owners ask us for advice when it comes to helping their dogs cope this holiday.

We are happy to help. Take a look at these top tips from The Kennel Club that’ll guide you in helping your furry friends and keeping them as stress-free as possible. And from all of us at the Good Dog Hotel & Spa, have a wonderful and safe Fourth of July.

Dog Owners Should:

• Acclimate your dog to noises prior to the big night. Consider noise recordings on the market that help you introduce him to potentially disturbing sounds in a controlled manner.
• Seek help from an experienced animal behaviorist. If your pet is severely noise phobic, noise recordings may make the situation worse. Find someone experienced in different aspects of dog training and behavior.
• Make a safe den for your dog to retreat to if she feels scared. Alternatively, let your dog take refuge under furniture and include an old, unwashed piece of clothing so that your dog can smell your scent and feel comfortable.
• Distract your dog from the noise by leaving the TV or radio on.
• Try to act and behave normally, as your dog will pick up on any odd behavior. Remain calm, happy and cheerful as this will send positive signals to your dog. Reward calm behavior with dog treats or special toys of interest.
• Check where and when firework displays are being held in your local area. Also ask your neighbors to let you know if they are planning anything.
• Consult your vet if your dog has any health problems or is taking any medication before giving remedies to help him cope with fireworks night, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Feed your dog a while before you expect any disturbances, as once the fireworks start your dog may be too anxious to eat.
• Walk your dog before dusk. It may be some time before it’s safe to venture outside again for your dog to relieve himself.
• Make sure you shut all doors and windows in your home and don’t forget to draw the curtains. This will block out flashes of light and reduce the noise level of fireworks. Don’t forget to block off cat flaps to stop household pets escaping.
• Shut your dog safely inside a room before opening the front door.
• Your dog might choose to hide under the bed; if he comes to you for comfort, make sure that you give it to him. Ignoring your dog would only make things worse as he wouldn’t understand your withdrawal from them.
• Keep a collar and ID tag on your dog, just in case they do accidentally escape. Make sure your dog is microchipped too; if she does escape without a collar, it will ensure you are reunited as quickly as possible and is a legal requirement.

Dog Owners Should Not:

• Take your dog to a firework display. Even if your dog does not bark or whimper, don’t assume he or she is happy. Excessive yawning and panting can indicate that your dog is stressed.
• Tie your dog up outside while fireworks are being let off. 
• Assume your garden is escape proof. If your dog needs to go out keep him on a lead just in case.
• Leave your dog on his own or in a separate room from you.
• Try to force your dog to face his fears – he’ll just become more frightened.
• Forget to top off the water bowl. Anxious dogs pant more and get thirsty.
• Change routines more than necessary, as this can be stressful for some dogs.
• Try and tempt him out if he does retreat, as this may cause more stress.
• Tell your dog off. This will only make your pet more distressed. It is important to remember that it is natural for a dog to fear loud noises and unfamiliar sights and sounds.

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