Otis here! As a friendly reminder 4th of July is almost here, and that has a lot of dogs putting their tails between their legs. As for me, I just proceed with caution. My mom took me to every 4th of July event she’s ever attended; all-day BBQs in the park, live music festivals, late night hangouts in our beach chairs waiting for the loud stars to sparkle in the sky without a fear in the world. I can’t explain why the loud sparkles don’t scare me. I think a big part of it is I was introduced to them at a very young age and my mom is my safe place. Besides, I’m cool as the coolest cat you ever met! Arf! Arf!

Enough about me, let’s talk about my 4-legged brothers and sisters out there that get anxiety on this crazy fireworks day.
Here are my best tips for dog owners. First off, it’s normal for your pup to be startled and have anxiety over these loud sparkly stars, so please try to be understanding and patient. Us dogs are keen when it comes to our senses, and the loud noises are more intense for us. Hey, this is why we are such good protectors, right? We can hear things from a much greater distance, as compared to humans. Think of it like our superpower! It works great when a stranger enters the house but can make things complicated on the 4th of July. Many dogs experience an increased heart rate, a rush of adrenaline, and an increase of stress hormones circulating throughout their body. This is why we sometimes bark, cry, hide in the closet, or even try to run away in response to the sparkly stars. Wouldn’t you?

Next up, what about the times when dog owners leave us home alone? Always find a safe place in your home with a favorite toy, bone and comfy bed. Make sure the windows are closed and play some calming music. Improve the situation by surrounding us with familiarity and comfort. There are many calming aids you can buy, such as the stress relief wraps which are similar to a newborn being swaddled. My suggestion is to try one out and see if it works. Another option is anti-stress medication (for dogs), which my mom doesn’t recommend because she believes there are healthier ways to alleviate canine anxiety. Mom says it may seem like the easy route, but giving too many canine meds could adversely affect your dog in the long run. Lastly, never give your pup human meds. My best advice is to reassure your pup while these loud sounds are happening that everything is okay. Remain calm and use a soothing voice when talking to your 4-legged. Why? Because when they see you’re okay, they will immediately know they too, are okay. Sit back, relax, share a hot dog and enjoy the loud sparkly stars if you can, and have a very Happy 4th of July from Paw Playground!