Watching big, bright fireworks on the Fourth of July is an exciting custom for humans. But dogs? Not so much. While you may well find the giant displays of light totally mesmerizing, your furry friend is likely just trying to search for cover amid the scary, earth-shattering booms that shoot across the sky-y-y. But there are a few hacks that allow the holiday remain a celebration you can enjoy without it feeling like doomsday for your fur baby.
First, you have to understand why dogs freak out over fireworks in the first place: Because they have a stronger sense of sound than humans, loud noises sound seriously amplify in their ears—just imagine hearing that already loud crackle and pop of fireworks on an even more aggressive level. “Dogs have 18 muscles in their ears that allow them to pinpoint sound at a much longer distance. They can hear up to four times the distance, and they can hear higher-pitched and higher-frequency sounds compared to humans,” veterinarian Carly Fox, DVM, tells Apartment Therapy.
“Dogs have 18 muscles in their ears that allow them to pinpoint sound at a much longer distance. They can hear up to four times the distance, and they can hear higher-pitched and higher-frequency sounds compared to humans.” —Dr. Carly Fox, veterinarian
Additionally, research shows that certain breeds are extra afraid of loud noises, like the Norwegian Buhund, Irish Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier, and Lagotto Romagnolo, as well as those who are female, older, or neutered. So, how can you keep Rover relaxed during this year’s patriotic party in the sky?
First, instead of bringing your pup to watch the show with you, Dr. Fox says it’s best to leave them where they feel safe. The best-case scenario is for you to stay home with your pup if they’re super fearful of loud noises—particularly so they’ll “have you there and aren’t frantically looking for you.” But if that’s not an option, there are other methods for keeping calm and partying on. Before you leave, give them a yummy treat or two and some distracting toys. Then turn on a little white noise—be it music, a fan, or the TV—and use a plug-in diffuser with calming scents, like this one from Amazon.
If your dog needs a little extra TLC, you can even hook ’em up with a ThunderShirt ($45), which is a tight-fitting vest that “provides constant pressure on the animal’s thorax and is shown to alleviate anxiety,” Dr. Fox says. And given that weighted blankets have been shown to help humans fight anxiety and sleep better, it sounds like we may even have more in common with our pet loves than we ever even knew.
Here are the top-rated beds with which to spoil your dog. Or, find out why drinking puppy pee is a horrible acne solution. (And, yes, people have tried it.)
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