How to Manage Your Dog's Anxiety During the Holidays
With over 60% of pet dogs in the U.S. being terrified of fireworks, the upcoming holiday is a stressful and frustrating time for many of us pet guardians and our pets.
Let's talk about how you can prepare your dog for the 4th of July:
💜 Keep your pets indoors. Even if your dog is good about staying near their home and is not a fence climber, the presence of something scary elicits a flight response which often supersedes any learned behavior. When walking your dog outside, attach your dog's harness to their collar using a carabiner. This way, if they attempt to slip out of their walking equipment, you still have a hold on your dog.
💜 Close your blinds and curtains to minimize sound. If you have a relatively soundproof room in your house (usually a closet or bathroom), spend some time in there with your pup.
💜 Turn on the fan, TV, or radio, to mask any sound coming from outside. My personal favorite is a box fan, as it moves enough air to block most sounds. Place it between your pup and the source of most noise and have it face the wall.
💜 Use a Thundershirt or a make-shift pressure wrap. Applying steady pressure on your dog's body for 20-30 minutes at a time has a relaxing effect on their nervous system. Cuddling, talking to, and petting your dog also provides them with safety and comfort they need during this scary time.
💜 Provide your dog with food-based enrichment. Prepare a lick mat, puzzle toy, or a Kong filled with your dog's favorite treats and have your pup work on them in their quiet space. Licking and chewing helps release serotonin, which plays a crucial role in reducing anxiety. It also serves as a good distraction and helps tire your dog out.
💜 Talk to your vet about anti-anxiety medication.