I love the 4th of July, but I hate fireworks.
I love: lake parties, time with family and friends, 4th of July snack food, all of that good stuff that goes along with this time of year. And I used to like fireworks (as a kid from the Midwest you have to like fireworks. It’s law.) But then Harlow came into my life and everything changed.
Harlow’s fear of fireworks only seems get worse year after year, which in turn makes my stress over seeing him so upset, only get worse and worse. And so I’ve tried (and will continue to try) everything I can find to make this holiday a little less awful for him.
That being said, here’s a few of the things I’ve used over the years (and everything below was approved by his vet.)
I give Harlow one and a half and it makes him sleepy/calm. I’ve typically done this around 9 p.m. during firework season when it’s “bedtime” anyway. This is also around the time when the loud boomers are the worst.
The only downfall is it makes Harlow snore ten times louder than usual. And fart in his sleep. TMI? Sorry, I just wanted to warn you.
2. CALMING XL by Pet Naturals.
I’ve given these to Harlow during the day when the neighbor kids are being jerks (or being just like I was when I was a kid…) and blasting bottle rockets all day long. I found these in a natural pet store and also on Amazon.
When Harlow takes these he goes from shaking in the bathtub to just laying in bed. So I guess that’s a positive thing? I’ve also heard these calming chews work really well.
3. Call your vet and ask what anxiety meds they’d suggest for your pup.
I do this every year, we’re picking up Harlow’s tomorrow, in fact.
This one helps Harlow a lot (especially as he gets older.) I put it on him at the first sound of fireworks (which at the lake can be as early as 9:00 a.m. thanks to annoying neighbors…)
Click here for Thunder Jacket.
5. Make their safe place, a cozy place.
When Harlow wants to hide in the bathroom, or under the bed, I let him. I also make sure there are tons of comfy blankets, pillows, and some sort of sound machine in there, as well. Leave the TV on, or leave your phone in there with music or a sound app playing.
6. Calming lavender oil.
I read about this in a crazy dog group I’m in on Facebook (and totally love because everyone else in it is as crazy as me.) You’re supposed to rub it behind your dog’s ears and I also put it on the scent patch on his Thunder Shirt.
You can find it on amazon or at your local drug store.
In all honesty I think this one is more for the humans than the dogs, because after I put it on him I always feel pretty damn calm.
7. If you stay inside with your pup try a pet calming lavender candle.
Lots and lots of treats.
I always tend to overcompensate for Harlow’s fear by giving him snacks on snacks on snacks. (This one hasn’t been vet approved, but… it does work a little.)
9. And when all else fails, cuddle.
I’ve read articles that say you shouldn’t “coddle” your dog too much when they’re scared because that reinforces their fear. But I coddle the hell out of Harlow on a normal day, so I think it would worry him if he wasn’t treated like a baby.
And most importantly, don’t forget to keep a collar on your dog. This is the number one time when pets get nervous and will suddenly take off. 🙁 Even if your dog “never runs away,” the 4th of July is always an exception. Don’t let your pup be the one one that slips away.
Stay strong, animal parents. We’ll get through this firework season