Your dog can be the toughest one in town and still have a meltdown when it comes to fireworks. Look at it this way. Even battle-hardened veterans can have PTSD, right?

Your dog is not a wimp. Your dog is a creature with such an acute sense of hearing and smell that the thunderous noise and acrid smell of fireworks can set them off.

So Dr. Judy Morgan, a veterinarian in Woodstown, New Jersey, offers ways to help your dog get through another Fourth of July.

Leave them home

The most obvious thing? Just don’t bring them. You’d be amazed how many people bring their dogs to the sensory overload of a public fireworks display only to be shocked when the dog has an anxious breakdown or outright runs away.

Tracking devices

In case your dog DOES run off, keep them safe ahead of time by making sure they’re microchipped and have a gps device.

Give them a ‘cave’

Creating a safe pace in your home goes a long way. Think in terms of replicating a cave by using an interior windowless closet or their own dog crate tucked away somewhere dark and cozy. My dog Finn was crate trained and he loves his crate to this day using it like his own personal bedroom.

Exercise

Walk them, walk them, walk them. A long, hard walk before fireworks begin later that night can exercise your dog and wear them out in a healthy way so they’re naturally calmer when the booms come.

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Desensitize them

Desensitization can go a long way. Start by playing at low volume the sounds of fireworks. Loud enough for them to hear it but quiet enough that they’re not overwhelmed. As they tolerate the noise give them treats so they mentally associate something good with the unpleasant sound.

White noise

White noise can go a long way. A white noise machine can drown out the explosions just enough to take the edge off. If you don’t have a white noise machine then any constant sound like leaving a television on.

Ask a vet

Talk to your vet about a medication. Sure it may sound silly, but they have stuff now that dogs can benefit from. If you’re hesitant they even make over the counter dog calming treats now. Another therapeutic idea is a pressure vest for anxiety. It might be the only day of the year they’d like one but the hugging pressure on their bodies calms a dog like a hug from you.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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