Saturday, July 2, 2016

How dog owners can avoid firework frenzy

To most people in the U.S., the Fourth of July means donning red, white and blue, celebrating with loved ones, firing up the grill, and lighting off fireworks. To dogs however, all of the commotion and noise from fireworks actually causes a high amount of fear and anxiety.

Trupanion, a pet medical insurance company based out of Seattle actually receives more anxiety-related claims in July than any other month of the year. In 2015 alone, the company had 202 claims submitted and paid over $116,000 towards treatment of suspected anxiety cases.

To ensure Independence Day is enjoyed by people and their pets alike, Trupanion has provided some tips for pet owners to keep their furry friends calm during firework celebrations this Fourth of July.

-- Work It Out - Having your pet go on a run, play outside or do some other physical activity earlier in the day is a great way to get their extra energy out before the festivities begin, so they’ll be less reactive to the commotion later in the evening.

--Keep Your Dog Inside - Although it may be tempting to have your pet with you during all of the fun, keeping them indoors is the best way to curb that fear and anxiety as it masks the volume of the fireworks. Not only does it keep them calm, but it also prevents physical harm, especially since the loud noises can cause pets to run or hide. 

--Provide a Safe (Cozy) Spot - Most dogs feel protected when they are enclosed in a small area like under a table or in their crate. Make sure your dog’s safe haven is comfortable and familiar to them, being sure to close any curtains and blinds as well so that there aren’t visual distractions. Additionally, playing soothing music or white noise in this safe space can further lessen the anxiety from the fireworks.

--Use Calming Products - There are various products on the market to soothe your pet such as thunder shirts, doggie earmuffs and supplements. Discuss the many different options with your veterinarian ahead of the holiday weekend.

--Give Them Distracting Toys - Giving your dog a toy that requires a lot of interaction, such as a Kong filled with their favorite treats is an effective way to distract them from the noise of the fireworks and keep them occupied.

--Collar/ID Tags - In case your pet should run away out of fear and become lost during Fourth of July festivities, make sure your pet can be traced back to you by checking that they are wearing their collar with ID tags and are micro chipped.

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