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This blog post was originally published June 2017; it's been updated with new information and republished.
It's that time of year again! In 2017, the City of Marysville banned fireworks within city limits, however, with Boom City right across the freeway, no one heeded the new laws and the annual practice of testing out the fireworks began a few weeks prior to the big day. And every year, once nightfall arrives, our town sounds like a war zone and the animals are miserable.
We're lucky because our dogs don't have an intense fear of fireworks. They do become anxious (lots of panting and restlessness, and whining), however, we've created a routine that helps us through the day.
Our Fourth of July Routine for Our Dogs
Fireworks started several weeks ago where I live so the dogs are getting used to the occasional BOOM!!! Because we live on 5 acres and none of the homes around us light off fireworks, the noise is in the distance and not a concern. It's easy to get confident and think “it's not going to be that bad,” but the night of the Fourth of July is awful every single year. So I pray for heavy rain to ruin the fireworks and keep the rabble-rousers indoors.
Starting a few days before the Fourth, we step up the exercise. Every day, the dogs will be outside running, chasing, playing, fetching, swimming, and exploring. We'll do this at least three times a day (at most, five times on the weekends).
20th of June
I start giving Ewegurt treats to the dogs each evening. Rodrigo gets three (he has the worst response to the noise), the other dogs get one each. I recommend the emu recipe; it's easiest to hand out as treats.
25th of June
I start adding Ewegurt (sardine or beef heart recipe) to the dogs morning and evening meals to help create a calming mood. While Ewegurt doesn't put a halt to the anxiety, it calms my dogs enough to allow me to get through to them should I notice a fear-based response to the noise. I simply calmly say something to distract them from the fear reaction, like “want to go outside,” which is code for fetch and they're always game. The activity continues to distract them from the noise.
30th of June
I take four buffalo knuckle bones out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge. My dogs are going to enjoy these on the big day.
1st of July
A few days before the Fourth of July, we're now doing the following daily:
- Exercising with the dogs for at least 30 minutes a time, multiple times a day. Since the days are longer, we can exercise with them until 9 pm.
- The dogs are enjoying Ewegurt (sardines or beef heart recipes) in both of their daily meals. And they are getting Ewegurt (emu) before bed. Rodrigo gets three and the other dogs get one each.
Fourth of July!
5:00-6:00 am – The dogs eat breakfast (I'll mix in Ewegurt) and then they take a morning nap.
7:30 am – After their nap, I'll leash them up and head out for a walk in a local field. It's not a long walk; we don't go very often so they get to experience lots of new smells which is always a great distraction and mind/nose workout.
8:30 am – When we return from our short walk, I'll take the dogs outside (in our yard) again for playing to work out any excess energy.
Noon – If it's not too hot, the dogs will chow down on their knuckle bones outside while I edit my new book on raw feeding (stay tuned!).
2:00 pm – Another walk, this time through the woods. The dogs will be on a leash because of the fireworks in the distance and to avoid freaking out our neighbors (who also have dogs). This will be followed by a play session in the yard.
4:00 pm – Another play session.
5:00 pm – Dinner with Ewegurt
6:30 pm – Another play session.
8:00 pm – Bully stick time!!! I like Monster Bully Sticks and Monster Himalayan Chews because they are so big that the dogs stay distracted. You can order them from PawStruck.com and get 15% when you use the code TAILWAGGING at checkout.
If you give your dogs bully sticks, make sure everyone has space to chew – the heightened anxiety for the day can lead to the dogs picking on each other (or Rodrigo picking on the other dogs) so I make sure everyone has a spot that is separate from the other dogs so everyone can chew in peace.
I'll cue up the movies for the night and start diffusing calming essential oils like lavender, sweet orange, or ylang-ylang (or a combination of the three). The dogs and I camp out in the living room so I add 2 drops each of the oils I use and keep it limited to three oils at most.
9:00 pm – If the dogs seem to be anxious – usually this is Rodrigo and Zoey – I give them a Ewegurt treat (emu). I'll close all the windows.
11:00 pm – 2:00 am – this is when all hell breaks loose. Hopefully, the fine folks of Marysville will respect the law and this year will be quieter than past years. If anyone is still anxious, I give them a dose of CBD oil and they'll sleep straight through the night.
Natural Supplements and Treats for Dog Anxiety
To recap, the following supplements and treats have gotten our four dogs through several Fourth of July nights with ease. While I know that they don't have the level of anxiety as most dogs, they do have a strong reaction (barking, whining, shaking, and panting) that the following allows them to have a more peaceful night.
Ewegurt Dog Treats – I recommend all three recipes; my dogs love them and it's also good for digestive health. And I'm generous with my dogs because to see the best results, they need 1 tablespoon of Ewegurt per every 10 pounds of body weight; which means Rodrigo gets 7 tablespoons (he's only 65 pounds, so I round up).
CBD Oil – Rodrigo usually needs an extra kick as the night builds to the explosions and a couple of doses of CBD oil, along with the Ewegurt treats (emu), help to keep him calm. I order my oil from Irie CBD and you can save 15% when you use code KTW15.
Monster Bully Sticks – and Himalayan chews are a fantastic distraction for the dogs and the chewing seems to put them in a place of nirvana and calmness.
Essential Oils – and, finally, diffusing essential oils offers another level of protection for the dogs by creating a peaceful and calm atmosphere in the home.
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