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Article: Reducing Summer Anxiety in Pets

Reducing Summer Anxiety in Pets

Reducing Summer Anxiety in Pets

Summer is upon us and that means pool parties, cookouts and celebrations. One of the biggest celebrations on the summer calendar is the Fourth of July. The Fourth of July is all about fireworks, which while fun for us humans, can be no fun for our canine companions.

The sudden loud noise associated with fireworks can cause anxiety, stress, illness and even cause dogs to run away.

Experts believe that a dog’s hearing is up to three times more sensitive than humans because they can hear at higher frequencies. Also the shape of their ears means that they funnel sounds making their hearing much better than people.

The sudden, loud sound of fireworks can overstimulate your pet causing stress and anxiety.

Signs of stress can be different from dog to dog but can include a flight-or-fight response. Dogs can go into flight mode by running and hiding or fight mode by barking at the sound to get your attention. There is also a third response; some dogs freeze! Some dogs simply shut down from the stress caused by fireworks. Other behaviors you might see if your dog is stressed include panting when it’s not hot, pacing, holding one leg up, licking their lips and even refusing food or treats. But fear not! Here are five things you can do to help your dog get through the holiday safely.


It is possible to desensitize your dog to loud noises through training. If you have a puppy it’s best to start this training as soon as possible to prevent noise aversion from starting. Even if you have an older dog struggling with noise related anxiety, training can still be helpful. In advance of the holiday, start by playing an audio of fireworks sounds at the lowest volume. While it’s playing, scatter food or treats on the floor. This gives your dog an alternate association to the loud noise.

Instead of danger, big noises mean yummy treats!

Do this each day, gradually increasing the volume of the sounds and continue to reward your dog for being uninterested in it. So hopefully by July Fourth the fireworks will be no big deal. If while training your dog starts to get stressed or anxious, stop playing the fireworks sounds and try again the next day at an even lower volume. If you continue to have issues it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian or an experienced dog trainer.

Safe Space

It’s important to give your dog a safe space in your home that is dark and quiet. If your dog is crate trained then you can move their crate to that space. In this area, lay some comfort items like soft blankets or their favorite toy, as well as some of their favorite treats. Keep your windows shut and curtains closed.


It is safest for your dog to stay home in a contained space. If you dog is free coming through the house, stay with them. Guard exits, even if your pet has never been a "bolter" before.

Dogs and cats have been known to pop out screens and jump through windows or flee out a door in terror.

If you do need to take your dog outside, be vigilant. Even if you have a fenced in backyard it’s best to keep your dog on a leash. Many dogs have been known to jump a fence that previously contained them out of extreme anxiety. Remember that if your dog gets close to a lit firework, it can cause severe burn injuries or trauma to the dogs face or paws. Even an unlit firework poses danger as many of them contain toxic substances, like potassium nitrate, arsenic, and other heavy metals.

Lead by Example-Don’t React Yourself

Although it may be difficult not to react when the fireworks start and you hear that first boom, not reacting can be very helpful to your dog. Dogs are very sensitive to their person’s moods and reactions. If you are able to stay calm it will help your dog to remain calm as well. It shows them that everything is ok and that there’s no reason to panic.

Medicines and CBD Oils

If your dog has extreme anxiety and other methods to help them cope have not worked you may need medications to help keep them safe and calm during the fireworks. For some dogs the fear response to loud noises can get worse over time, not better so working with your veterinarian to find a medication that will keep your dog calm is the best solution. Some of the prescribed medicines that veterinarians may recommend include Sileo (reduces reactions in the nervous system), Gabapentin (a pain medication that has a sedating effect), Trazadone (an anti-anxiety medication), and fluoxetine (also an anti-anxiety medication). CBD oils have also been shown to reduce anxiety and stress in dogs. Before giving your dog any over the counter medicines, it’s best to check with your veterinarian who can recommend a quality brand and advise on the safety and efficacy for your dog.

Limited Time Only! pawTree and Jordan Essentials have collaborated on the Pet Zen Set

Available for both small and large pets, this set includes pet safe, calming essential oil from Jordan Essentials and pawTree’s Chillax™, a veterinarian-developed supplement to help your pet relax and find tranquility during stressful situations. Get The Pet Zen Kit on our PawTree store.

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