Booms that boo your dog- noise phobia

 

The Fourth of July is an "explosive" celebration of independence that we all love. Fun fairs, parades, shows, food, parties, music, noise and fireworks everywhere... what can be more exciting?  

Some of our dogs are not so good at American history and all that party activity is a surprise to them. Weather it is in the middle of dinner, relaxation time on the couch or a nice doggy midnight dream, the rattling booms come as a shock and can scare the living daylights out of a dog. Fireworks are a rude awakening that sends our canine friends from a calm downtime up into the air with a racing heart beat and cold sweat.  

The poor dog is terrorized. With a natural instinct of fight or flight reaction, he/she tries to run for his/her life. To him/her the world is coming to an end. The intense explosions are amplified by a dog's acute hearing sense, tearing his brains apart. He tries to escape with erratic pacing or trotting in different directions, digging or chewing his way out, panting, crying and loosing his mind.  

Some dogs undergoing this traumatic experience become injured or cause damage in the house. They need help. If possible, dogs that are known to have this "4th of July syndrome" should be placed in a quiet environment, away from the commotion. If not, they at least can be brought to a "safe hiding place": A place that mimics a cave or a small dark space, like the one under the bed or the bedroom closet.  

Owners should consult their veterinarian about ways to help their dog in these or similar cases. Many affected dog will also react similarly to thunderstorms or gunshots. There are ways of behavioral therapy that can help the dog, such as conditioning or desensitization. Tranquilizers and other sedatives are sometimes used for a short-term treatment. Some medications may be harmful to dogs with kidney or liver problems. A physical exam as well as a blood test should be done prior to the medical treatment.  

In addition, owners should prevent disasters related to escaped dogs by keeping them indoors or on a leash and verify that an ID tag is on the dog (a well-secured ID tag or an embedded Microchip).  

Some dogs are the complete opposite. They are fearless and are not affected by noises. These brave dogs should be confined as well, especially if they are a good retriever. There have been several tragic incidents where dogs ran and fetched firecrackers.  

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