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How to Help Your Dog Feel Safe on 4th of July

dog laying on grass with american flag bandana around neck

For many, the 4th of July is the epitome of summer. Sunshine, parades, patriotism, picnics and of course, fireworks. What's not to love on this grand day of celebration? Well, if you're a dog... a lot.

July 4th is an incredibly stressful day for your four-legged BFF.

Nearly 1 in 5 pets go missing after being frightened by loud noises such as fireworks or thunder.

When it comes to fight or flight, dogs will instinctively go into flight mode. In other words, they won't stick around to face the fear of the loud, booming noises. If given the opportunity, they wont hesitate to find a place to hide or worse, run away in fear.

While you won't be able to magically make your dog unafraid of fireworks this holiday, here are a few things you can do to help make your pup's least favorite day of the year a little easier.

Exercise Early To Calm Anxiety

A tired dog is naturally going to be a lot calmer if their anxiety can't feed off all of their pent up energy. Make sure you exercise your dog early in the day to help wear him out. It should be an activity he enjoys like a walk, run, dog park romp or even a swim in the local lake.

Let Your Dog Find a Safe Space

Once the fireworks start, your dog may want to withdraw into a what feels like a safe place. As obscure as it may be, let them stay in their cozy spot as long as they want to. It will stress your dog out more if you try to force them out from underneath the bed, or the bathtub.

Check The Exits To Prevent Escape

One of the best ways you can keep your dog safe is by making sure they can't escape out of an open door. This is especially true if you are hosting a party at your home. You'll have visitors in and out of doors and your spooked pup WILL be watching for a way to make their escape. Do make sure your dog is properly tagged or chipped prior to the spookiest day of the year, just in case.

Turn On White Noise

Try turning on some white noise to help drown out the big booms of the fireworks. This can be a TV, music, or sound machine. Any familiar noise will be a lot more welcomed than the noisy fireworks for your pet.

Let Your Dog Stay Indoors

It may seem like a good idea to bring your social pup to the barbecue that later turns into a fireworks show, but do your dog a favor and leave them at home. Once your dog's anxiety is triggered, they will crave a familiar place vs a stranger's house...even if you are there with them.

Promote a Sense of Safety 

Some dogs respond well to pressure vests when their anxiety triggers. Another option to try and ease your dog's anxious behavior is a calming soft chew. If you do try an alternative calming method, make sure it is something your pet is used to and has tried before. Never pick the scariest day of the year (for your dog) to try out something new, as it could make their fear and anxiety even worse.

If you decide to try out any or all of these calming techniques, it's important to keep your expectations realistic. If your dog is terrified of fireworks or loud thunder, they will likely still be a little worked up regardless of how many calming techniques you've tried.

Here's to a safe and happy 4th of July!