With Independence Day celebrations beginning, that means we'll start to see - and hear - lots of fireworks displays. As humans, we typically like to sit and marvel at the loud noises and pretty lights. But for dogs, this can be a really scary experience.

If you have a hunting dog, dog expert Cesar Milan says they're probably used to loud bangs and smell of gun powder. However, most aren't used to those sights, smells, and sounds. Milan also mentions that "more pets run away on the Fourth of July than any other day, so you should take extra steps to ensure their safety."

First and foremost, make sure your pet is microchipped and wearing their ID just in case they run away. After that, here are some tips to help calm your dog...

  • Preparation - If you can take your dog someplace that there won't be fireworks, that's ideal- just avoid the situation entirely. But, you'll want to make sure it's a familiar place.
  • Accommodation - If going someplace else isn't an option, "have a travel kennel at home for her to feel safe in."
  • Acclimation - It's probably a little to late for this one, but next year! You can get your dog used to hearing the sounds of fireworks by playing sounds of them three or fourth months before. Play them at a lower volume to start off with, then increase the volume in increments. You can play the sounds "before he eats, before a walk, and before affection and play."
  • Sedation - If you find that the other hints aren't enough, medication or a thundershirt may be necessary. But, it's important to introduce these tools while they're in a calm state, it's not going to be useful if they're already anxious. Milan says "a tool is an intellectual thing we use with a dog's instincts. The challenge is knowing how and when to connect the two."
  • Communication - Acting and speaking in a calm way is important. Your dog will look to you to see how to act. And if you don't make a big deal about the fireworks, they won't be as concerned about them as well.

Milan says that with all the tips above, spending your dog's energy is important as well. A long walk help to tire your pup out "and put her in a calm state." Read more here

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