It’s no secret the 4th of July can be a stressful holiday for dog owners. It’s a day with the highest rate of dogs running away and the top reason is pretty obvious; on top of all the commotion and people out celebrating all day, we cap it off with loud fireworks. The sky lights up. The ground can shake. And the boom of explosives convince your pet that something is wrong. Explosions are closer to the ground than loud thunder. The smell of smoke fills the air. And all the people around are very obviously making a commotion of the whole scene. Dogs experience the world through their senses, and this is a time when all those senses are on a confusing overload.
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It’s natural for your dog to be afraid of all this, so whether you’re a brand new dog owner or have never been able to crack the code of settling yours down on the fourth, what’s a loving owner to do?
Calming dogs with anxiety medications is a common thing today. Of course, plenty of people choose to forego vet prescribed medications and trust the more natural CBD treatments. Hemp/CBD is an effective alternative when you don’t want to risk giving your pet a prescription medication. Whether it’s in the form of treats or oils, there are definitely easy ways to help your dog relax using CBD products. Either option is up to personal preference and both are considered reliable methods but Cesar Millan himself has pointed out that using any kind of anxiety treatment is far less effective if you wait until your pet is already anxious and worried.
“Remember that you must introduce any such tool at the right time,” he says,” conditioning your dog to understand that medication is there to bring them to a calm state. This means that you must bring your dog to that calm state first, then introduce the tool - before the fireworks and the anxiety begin. If she is already at an anxiety level of eight or nine then her mental state will overrule the medication.”
So with all this in mind, let’s take a dive into a handful of things you can do to help your dog reach a truly relaxed state to maximize the help of something like CDB treatment, all before the anxiety’s made it too much to handle:
Stay With Them
Dogs are natural pack animals. Being surrounded by others is comforting, especially during a confusing and scary situation. Even if your dog is crated, just staying in the same room during an anxious time can be one more signal there’s nothing to worry about.
Now, this shouldn’t be confused with giving your dog more attention when they’re barking or acting up. There are obviously some dogs who only escalate their behavior when you give them attention for it, and that’s a trait that can require serious focused training. The difference here is you’re simply staying in their sight and presence to signal comfort. Further, staying calm through all this yourself is a behavior that they can mimic and understand everything is actually ok.
Tire Them Out
You know how you feel equal parts wiped out and refreshed when you get a really good workout in? You’ve been calmed. Just like us, exercise stimulates serotonin production in dogs. All that pent-up energy is released and your dog is left feeling more relaxed. Going for a longer hike than usual or playing fetch until they’re wiped out earlier in the day is a good way to help your dog ease into a more relaxed state once those fireworks begin.
Give Them Shelter
Kids, dogs, and even grown adults can have the same reaction to loud unexpected noises: hide. If your dog has a crate, filling it with its favorite toys, some treats, or even clothes that smell like you as a reminder you’re nearby can all create a place that feels safe to hide. If they climb under your bed every once in a while, toss a couple things down there for the same effect. This doesn’t mean you have to force your dog into the crate or a place they regularly go to get cozy - you’re just giving them a safe option that helps them resist the urge to run away altogether.
Give Them a Massage
A massage is just as soothing to a dog as it can be for us - maybe even more so. Think of how much your dog loves regular affection when you’re just relaxing at home. There are actually even specific massaging techniques you can use that can help calm your dog. A nice massage before all the fireworks get started can bring your pet’s natural anxiety down significantly, and just like these other four techniques, can help maximize the use of a sedative aid like CBDs and calm your pet’s anxiety. Just be sure to do your best to bring your dog to a relaxed state before all the commotion begins.
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