We’re just entering summer here in Seattle and I'm looking forward to a chance to get a suntan while out hiking, having friends over for a socially distancing barbecue, and July 4th celebrations, aka high anxiety for our four-legged friends.
Which brings me to this: the busiest day for shelters taking in runaway dogs is July 5th and you should expect this year to be worse than usual as people skip bigger displays preferring to instead having smaller backyard fireworks displays. In short - there will be more localized impromptu noise coming from all directions.
I learned the trouble this can cause for dogs all too well, having experienced Bailey’s full-on panic attacks as we rode the ferry from Bainbridge to Seattle watching the display and all those beautiful lights in the sky...literally booming above us. That experience prompted me to develop the “No More Wiggles” formula to help calm those jangled nerves.
It’s normal if your dog gets scared—they have keen senses that make fireworks a more intense experience..more acute hearing being the main one. During fireworks, your dog experiences the same kind of startled response you do when you’re surprised by a loud noise. This may mean an increase in heart rate, a rush of adrenaline, and an increase in stress hormones circulating through the body.
For your dog, fireworks aren’t the same experience as a thunderstorm, which comes with a lot of warning signs, like changes in barometric pressure and increasing winds. Fireworks, on the other hand, are sudden, occur out of nowhere, and are far more intimidating as a result.
A CBD-rich hemp extract will help manage sensitivity to noise but I've found that adding a combination of botanicals and herbs, like Valerian Root, Passionflower, and Chamomile, will give the best protection. Bailey's No More Wiggles includes all of these with an increased amount of CBD and you'll find that will do just the trick. It's certainly what Bailey's having this coming 4th of July!
Keep your pet in a secured safe environment within your home. Even a fenced yard cannot guarantee that your pet will be secure. If you have a room without windows or a large closet you can move the dog bed in, create a nesting place and dampen noise. They will appreciate a tight safe place. Crates covered with blankets or their preferred safe place can work as well. White noise or comfortable music can also help downplay fireworks and ease pets' stress.
Make sure their microchip and ID tags are up to date and have multiple emergency numbers to contact if available. The more numbers to contact the better. This way if they do happen to get out you have a better chance of being reunited with them. Remember, pets are known to instinctively run far, far away from the noises (and tracking them down sure is difficult in the commotion that follows).
Stock up on stress relievers prior to the 3rd of July! It is important to set your dog up for success so easing them into comfort designed products will work better than trying new products during the fireworks. CBD can be a great tool to help keep your pet calm. If you haven’t used CBD before make sure to give it a try a week in advance to figure out what a good baseline serving is for your pet specifically. If you use CBD already you may want to increase the dose the day prior and continue through July 5th. Just because the 4th of July is designated as a holiday doesn’t mean your neighbor doesn’t want to continue the party with leftover fireworks the next day.*
If at all possible skip the parties and stay home with your animal. Not only can fireworks be loud and scary for pets but being left alone can increase their fears. If you have to be away from the home coordinating with a friend or neighbor to check in on your dog or find a boarding facility prepared for this type of event.
- Keep your pet busy beforehand. A tired dog is a happy dog so make sure to exercise your pup early in the day and provide lick mats, fun chews or puzzle toys to keep them busy. Don’t try and exercise or take your dog outside after the sunsets. This is prime fireworks time.
*With the 4th of July landing on a Saturday this year we recommend starting your pet on CBD as early as July 2nd and continue through at least July 5th. Start CBD before noon and continue to dose every 4-6 hours through 11 pm to ensure your animal is fully prepared for whatever happens during the day AND night. A sleeping calm dog is much better than an overactive stressed animal.
Remember CBD may take up to an hour to start taking effect so plan accordingly.