With the Fourth of July drawing near, many dog owners are dreading the annual event because their dogs are so afraid of fireworks. Even if you don’t plan to go to a formal celebration with your dog, there are always people who live nearby who start setting off fireworks several days before and after the formal holiday.

Dogs’ reactions include trembling, pacing, panting and even running away to try to escape the noise and the perceived danger. Some dogs resort to destructive behavior or even relieve themselves in the house. Whining, barking and even howling are other clear signals your dog is distressed.

Shelters report their biggest influx of dogs right after this holiday as some dogs run away, get lost and are picked up and taken to shelters.

You may wonder why dogs react so strongly to the noise of fireworks when they usually don’t react that way to all loud noises.  

Your dog is not able to see the source of the noise and the noises are random. They just can’t figure out what to do and interpret the noise as danger.

So what can you do to help your dog if he shows signs of stress when he hears fireworks?

One of the most effective things you can do is to minimize the sound of the fireworks by moving your dog to an interior room without windows or an exterior wall. You can also use white noise machine or recording or play calming music to try to drown out the sound.

Create a safe and serene environment for your dog, with his favorite blanket, toys and treat. Above all, be patient with him by talking to him in a low key, calm voice. Stay with him until the fireworks are over and he is calm.

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