Don’t let your dog’s fear of fireworks ruin his day

dog's fear of fireworks
dog's fear of fireworks, dog afraid of fireworks

Dogs HATE fireworks!

Your dog’s fear of fireworks and other loud noises is real! Their ears are so much more sensitive than ours, so the loud noises bother them more. Plus, dogs just don’t understand our need to have fireworks at all. It’s a scary time for them. Just because the fourth of July has passed doesn’t mean the noise and chaos are gone.

You don’t have to be the one shooting off the fireworks, either. Chances are you have a neighbor who shoots them off without any consideration for your dog’s fear. Even if we don’t shoot off any fireworks ourselves, most dogs are going to have to tolerate it one way or another.

dog's fear of fireworks

How we react to our dog’s fear of fireworks has changed

When I was growing up, we had a rescued lab mix who was scared to death of fireworks. Every year, she would go hide in the closet, dig frantically, and be a drooly mess. We sort of thought it was weird, maybe laughed a little, but didn’t do anything about it. We didn’t know any better.

Now, looking back, I feel so sad for that girl. I wish we could have tried to help her feel better. We did the best we could at the time.

We’ve learned better ways

Fast forward to today. In those years, I’ve learned a few things. Now I watch how my dogs are doing and notice any changes in behavior.

We have a 10 year old Australian Shepherd named Sera, who hates loud noises. Ever since we got her as a 3 month old pup, she has been scared senseless of thunderstorms and fireworks.

This normally calm, friendly girl, will go hide under the bed or in the basement as soon as she hears anything scary. We can’t force her out without risking getting bit. It’s THAT bad. We’ve tried distracting music, thundershirts, essential oils, CBD oil, you name it. None of it has done much good.

We have to accept that Sera is afraid and can’t help herself. So we do what we can to help her. We try to anticipate when a situation is going to come up and comfort her as best we can. We haven’t found the magic trick yet, but we keep trying. At least we’re lucky enough to live in the country. That distance helps mute the fireworks a bit.

What can you do to help your with your dog’s fear of fireworks?

Scared dogs do things that they wouldn’t usually do, like bite, pace, run around nervously, hide, and just plain run away, possibly out of the yard and far from you. Their fear makes them forget. The panic makes them do things to get lost or hurt. Not because they are doing it intentionally, but because of the fear.

They say that around the Fourth, the animal shelters are the busiest at this time of year. Lots of dogs run away and end up at the shelter instead of home. Or maybe just lost for good. You don’t want this to be your dog.

dog's fear of fireworks

Here are some ideas that might help.

  • Know your dog’s fear behaviors so you can anticipate a situation before it goes bad.
  • Keep your dog’s identifiers on them (tags, etc.) so you can be contacted if they do become lost.
  • Try what you can to calm them down (drugs, oils, devices, behavior management, distraction) to minimize fear.
  • Keep them securely. At home in a safe place is the best. Hopefully with the other tactics as well.

This time will end eventually. At least until next year. And since you can’t make it stop, you’ll need to learn how to help your dog so they can make it through safely and securely.

For more about helping an anxious dog, read my post How to help your anxious dog or this article from Dogs Naturally magazine.

Have you found some tips and tricks to help your dog with the fear of fireworks? Tell me about it in the comments below.

How to help your anxious dog

anxious dog, how to help an anxious dog
nervous dog
how to help your nervous dog
anxious dog
how to help your anxious dog
What can you do to help your anxious dog?

An anxious dog is not a happy dog. Do you know how to recognize that your dog is scared, nervous, or anxious? Maybe you know how to recognize it, but what do you do to help your pup?

Do you have an anxious dog?

Usually, he or she is happy go lucky, relaxed and ready to have fun. But then something happens that transforms them into a dog that you might not recognize. Is your usually relaxed dog

  • pacing
  • drooling excessively
  • wide eyed
  • trying to hide
  • tucking the tail
  • trembling

If you see these or other uncharacteristic behaviors, your dog might be anxious or afraid. It’s a good thing to be aware of. Knowing is the first step in helping them feel better.

Why is my dog acting this way?

Sometimes events happen that turn your loveable mutt into an anxious dog. Have you ever noticed that when a thunderstorm hits, your dog runs for the basement? My dog, Sera, does that. She can hear it long before I’m aware of it. Possibly, you see these behaviors when you go to the vet’s office? That’s definitely a place that most dogs are less than fond of. Then there are the fireworks that so often show up this time of year. All those loud noises hurt the ears and provoke anxiety too.

These situations and many more can cause your dog some discomfort. You might not be able to prevent the situations, but you can learn when to anticipate that your dog will have a problem and help prepare them to deal with it.

How can you help your dog to tolerate these anxiety-producing events?

There are several steps you can take in order to be prepared. You may not be able to get rid of the fear completely, but anything you can do to minimize the anxiety will help.

  • The first step is to KNOW your dog. Seems simple, right? But how well do you really know them? Do you know the top few situations that make them nervous? How do they react and how severely do they react?
  • Once you know these things about your dog, you can anticipate when the problems will come up and put together a plan to help them through it. For example, if thunderstorms are a problem, knowing they are in the weather report and roughly when they’re predicted can allow you to keep your dog inside, use medicines, music, etc., to keep them calm, etc.
  • Learn about several methods of reducing anxiety. Items like thundershirts, CBD oil, meds from the vet, calming music, exercising to wear off anxious energy, etc., can all be helpful. But they may not work on your dog for the particular situation. Having several approaches means a greater chance of success.
  • If you can, be there for your dog. You provide a whole lot of security to them. If you can’t be there, try to have a safe place like a kennel, a comfy bed or a favorite toy.
  • After the situation, evaluate what worked and what didn’t. You now have a chance to refine your approach so next time, things can be even better for your dog.

Your dog can be less anxious

Knowing that something is likely to cause anxiety and getting ahead of the situation allows you to be proactive before your dog reaches that “about to jump out of their skin” state. Once the anxiety reaches that level, it’s really hard to diffuse. Catching it early gives you a better chance of helping your dog have minimal reactions or maybe even none at all.

Figure out what turns your sweet pup into an anxious dog. They don’t do it to be naughty. You can help them to handle situations better by applying a few tips and tricks. You’ll both feel better if you do.

Do you have some techniques you’ve used that help your dog feel less anxious? Tell me about them in the comments below.

For more about helping your dog with anxiety, read my post Essential Oils for dogs on this blog or What is CBD oil? on Your Pet; Mind and Body. Fireworks and the Fourth of July are especially hard on dogs. Read my post Don’t let your dog’s fear of fireworks ruin his day for some ideas to help your dog.

What do you do if your dog has a tick?

dog has a tick
dog has a tick

What is that on your dog?

Oh no! Your dog has a tick! It’s every dog parent’s nightmare to find one of these yucky pests on their dog. And with the warmer weather, the chance of finding a tick is highly likely. Now what do you do?

First thing you want to do is get that thing off your dog. They can carry all kinds of diseases, like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or a whole slew of others. You don’t want your dog to get any of these, so the best thing to do is to get that tick off quickly. They say within 24-36 hours is best, but whenever you find it, get rid of it!

You want it gone, but it’s important to remove that tick the right way. If you don’t, you might not get the whole thing, or any diseases it’s carrying might be passed to your dog. Infection can also be a problem since the remaining part of the tick is recognized by the body as a foreign object.

Ways to remove a tick from your dog

There are lots of different approaches to removing one of these things from your dog.

  • There’s the mechanical approach; using tweezers and pulling slowly and carefully so you get the tick out with the mouth parts. They also have devices, tick keys for example, that slide over the tick and help you pull it out intact. If you use this method, you should wear gloves so you don’t get any diseases and you should flush the tick down the toilet or kill it. You do NOT want it to come back.
  • Smothering it with baby oil, vaseline or some other substance can get rid of the tick. Some of these work better than others, depending on things like the thickness of the product. The downside is that it might pass disease to your dog as it’s dying.
  • You can use various products to repel the tick and make it pull it’s mouth out on its own. If you have apple cider vinegar, citrus fruits or eucalyptus oil, you can use these. Home remedies like these can help, but might take a bit of patience before they work.

One thing you don’t want to do is squeeze the tick with your fingers since that can cause it to spread disease into your dog. Plus, you could get any diseases it has if you’re not wearing gloves.

After the tick is out, then what?

The risk of infection is real, so clean the area with soap and water or another antiseptic. Also apply an antibiotic ointment if you can. And wash your hands so you don’t catch anything. Finally, kill the tick so it doesn’t show up again.

To be safe, you should check your dog for any other ticks. If they have one, they could certainly have another or even several. Check places like ears, between toes, the groin, under the tail………as much surface area as possible.

Just in case, watch your dog for signs of infection at the site or development of disease. Take your dog to the vet if anything looks off.

No one wants to find that their dog has a tick

Our dogs spend a lot of time outside playing in the grass and fields, so we find ticks from time to time. This year has been worse than usual. The simple mechanical approach has worked well for us. You can check sites like the AKC site or Dogsnaturally magazine for more ideas on removing these parasites. Whatever method you use, just be diligent about checking so your dog doesn’t end up with an illness that could possibly have been prevented.

For more about essential oils and dogs, read my post Essential oils; do they really work?

Have you had to deal with ticks on your dog? What methods have you used? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Heat stroke! How can you prevent it?

heat stroke in dogs
heat stroke in dogs

It’s heat stroke time.

Heat stroke time is approaching. It’s almost Memorial Day; the unofficial start to summer, with its warmer weather and outdoor activities.  While we humans are having fun, we want to have fun with our dogs too.  But they have some physical differences that are important to pay attention to. Find out how to keep your dog safe from heat stroke so you can both have fun.

Can dogs cool themselves off?

Dogs don’t sweat, except through the pads of their paws. They pant, which helps them cool off with evaporation, but only does so much. They can change or limit behavior to try to cool down, but they run into difficulties.

Dogs at risk:

– Brachycephalic (short nosed) breeds like pugs or french bulldogs
– Darker colored dogs (since black absorbs heat)
– Heavily muscled dogs (since muscle produces extra heat)
– Very young or very old dogs
– Dogs with other pre-existing health issues
– Very high drive dogs that don’t self limit

What is heat stroke?

If you watch the news or are on social media, you’ve most likely heard of heat stroke.  But maybe you don’t know exactly what it is and how to recognize it. Heat stroke, a form of hyperthermia, happens pretty often to dogs since they don’t cool themselves as well as humans do.  A dog’s normal temp is between 101 and 102.5. Heat stroke can lead to temps of 106 or even higher!  Temperatures that high can lead to acute (sudden) renal failure, rapid or irregular heart rates, liver damage and seizures, to name a few issues.  This is an extremely dangerous condition and failure to act can lead to death.

Signs of heatstroke include:

– Panting
– Decreased responsiveness
– Drooling
– Dark red gums
– Confusion and/or anxiety
– Glazed eyes
– Rapid heart rate
– Labored breathing
– Temperature above 103
– Vomiting or diarrhea, possibly with blood in them

If you see these symptoms, you need to try to cool your dog off a.s.a.p.!  What you can do:

– Get them out of the heat
– Let them stand or lay in cool water and bath them in it
– Encourage them drink cool (not ice cold) water

If these steps don’t get your dog to normal quickly, or if you see seizures, vomiting, diarrhea or minimal consciousness, you need the vet’s help as quickly as possible. Organ damage quickly starts in and makes rescue much more difficult.

How do you prevent it?

Heat stroke can be prevented if you are prepared. All dogs have the potential to suffer from heat stroke, so it’s a good idea to be aware of the weather and risk factors.  If your dog is especially prone to overheating, this becomes vital.

To make sure your outing doesn’t turn into a tragedy:

– Plan extreme activity for cooler times of the day
– Offer plenty of water
– Limit activity to shorter periods of time during the hot part of the day
– Provide a kiddie pool or other water for cooling off
– Use cooling mats, cooling coats, etc. to keep body temperature at a healthy level. Read my post How did I get started making cool coats for info about cooling coats or How does a dog cool itself off for more ideas for helping your dog. If you want to buy your dog a cool coat, see Made by De for more.

Summertime is ideal for fun times outside.  With a little planning, it can be great for dog activities too. It pays to be aware. What do you do to help your dog stay cool? Tell me about it in the comments below.