A friend asked me if I was worried about the noise from fireworks for Bailey on her first Fourth of July celebration. I instinctively said she would be fine because my now 10 month-old puppy is extremely calm and laid-back. The comment, however, made me think about Sophie and how the noise from the fireworks became her worst fear on the Fourth of July after she became a paraplegic. The popping noises from the fireworks were her worst enemy. They put her into a panic and I think it was because dogs with special needs sense they are more vulnerable.
Because of this #1 fear of special needs dog on the Fourth of July I decided to see what an expert suggested to soothe them.
I subscribe to a blog called Diary of a Real-Life Veterinarian. It’s author, Dr. Krista Magnifico has the following suggestions to keep dogs calm during July 4th.
- Leave your dog at home away from any festivities.
- Place your dog in a safe, familiar room away from the noise. Close the door and barricade it if necessary. More pets are lost on July 4th than any other day of the year.
- Crate your dog if that makes her feel more comfortable and calm.
- Play gentle soothing music.
- If you prefer to keep your dog with you, place your dog in a harness and keep her on a very short leash.
- Keep your dog away from the BBQ, fireworks, sparklers and candles.
Dr. Magnifico also recommends using a calming coat such as a Thundershirt or Rein Coat. The Tundershirt works in the same way that a swaddling cloth does to soothe a human baby. The Rein Coat is designed to lightly touch a dog on the nape of the neck to provide relaxation, just as a mother dog does when she picks up her puppy by the scruff of her neck.
My friend who asked about Bailey said she uses an Adaptil Collar to keep her two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels calm on the Fourth of July. The collar uses dog appeasing pheromones to reduce the stress dogs experience from firework noise and loud parties. The collar works when it comes in contact with the dog’s skin. The body temperature warms the collar and diffuses the pheromones into the room.
Information is knowledge, so I hope your Fourth of July will be fun and relaxing now that you are armed with lots of ways to make the holiday a good one for your special needs dog too.
Photo/Inforgraphic: Amazon, PetFinder