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You may love the fireworks–but chances are your pet doesn’t. Especially your dog. A study by the Applied Animal Behaviour Science found that 45% of dogs have “fireworks phobia”. There’s even a town in Italy that has switched to “quiet fireworks” to ease the anxiety of its 4-legged residents. And while that’s not likely to become the norm in the US, there are some things you can do to help your pet feel less fear this fourth.
- Keep your pet inside. While taking your dog out for a walk to try to acclimate him to the noise might sound like a good idea, it’s not. It’s best to keep your dog at home, with the windows closed if possible. This is the best way to make sure your dog doesn’t escape the leash during the big finale.
- Noise balance. Try playing music, or turning up the TV while the fireworks are on. It may be annoying to you, but it will be more normal to your pet…and help mask the noise from the fireworks.
- Distract them. If you’re playing with your pet, touching them and petting them, they’re much less likely to get scared. You’re their security blanket.
- Let them hide. Fido doesn’t want to play? Don’t force it. If your dog (or other pet) has a favorite hiding spot, don’t try to force them out of it just because you want to watch the fireworks. It’s best to let them hide, and turn up that TV.
- Try a thundershirt. The reviews on these are mixed–some say they work wonders, some say they’re useless. But it’s worth a shot!
Animal shelters regularly report their busiest days are July 4th and 5th. Follow these tips to keep your favorite friend safe!