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How to keep your dog calm for the loud, booming 4th of July fireworks

Before the holiday weekend, you'll want to start getting your pet acclimated to some tools that can help calm them during the fireworks displays.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Ahead of Independence Day weekend, it’s a good idea to think about how to prepare your pets for fireworks.

Dog ears can process a broader range of sounds than human ears, so canines can hear more intense sounds. Dog Trainer Cesar Millan describes fireworks as a dog hearing a missile going overhead. Since that’s a scary time for your pet, this is when many take off in search of a quiet place.

There are several things you can do now to help get ready for the variety of fireworks displays that will be set off around the holiday:

  • Think of a safe place for your pet. Maybe that's a bathroom or closet where they won’t hear as much. Put their bed, treats and toys where they feel safe. Also allow them to be able to move freely because they might get worked up about being locked up. A place for them to hide under the covers can provide them relief. 
  • If you’re thinking about trying a compression therapy like a Thundershirt or a calming cap or bandana, try it out before the holiday. Millan says then, they’ll have opportunity to associate the item with a resting or sleeping state.
  • Millan recommends taking your dog for a long walk before the show starts. That way the dog is a little tired and not as reactive. 
  • Consider if your dog might benefit from a supplement or medication. There are many options. More dog owners have been turning to CBD products for those with anxiety. The market is expected to see 40 percent growth between 2020 and 2027, according to Grandview Research. The American Kennel Club recommends looking for CBD oil that’s organic and looking for ones where the manufacturer provides a certificate about the amount of CBD in the product. While there has been no formal study on the compound’s effects in dogs, the AKC is sponsoring one about the impact on animals with epilepsy. Dr. Marty Becker says supplements like Zylkene, Anxitane, and melatonin can also provide relief. If your dog has noise aversion and isn’t just reactive to fireworks, but other loud events like thunder and construction, you can try medication. One FDA-approved treatment is Sileo which you can give your dog 30 minutes to an hour before you expect the fireworks to start. There are some dogs that it’s not recommended for including those who have severe cardiovascular disease and those with respiratory, liver or kidney diseases.

Here are some additional tips on calming pets and preparing them for the holiday from the AKC. 

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