The 4th of July is a time of celebration with fireworks, family gatherings, and festive fun! However, for many dogs, this holiday can be a source of great anxiety and stress, particularly for sensitive breeds like Shih Tzus. The loud noises and bright flashes are alarming for them, but with some preparation, you can help your Shih Tzu enjoy this day as much as you do.

Understanding Dog Anxiety on the 4th of July

Fireworks, with their unexpected loud booms and flashes, can trigger a dog’s natural flight response. The noise and crowd associated with holiday celebrations disrupt the quiet and routine environment they are accustomed to. By understanding this, you can better prepare to keep your Shih Tzu comfortable and reduce their stress during these celebrations.

Create a Safe Space

One of the best ways to prepare your Shih Tzu for the festivities is to provide a safe, quiet space where they can retreat. This could be a room in your house where the sound of fireworks is muffled. Make this space cozy with their favorite blanket, a few comforting toys, and access to fresh water. It’s also a good idea to play some soft music or leave the TV on to help mask the explosive sounds from outside.

Desensitize Your Dog to Loud Noises

In the weeks leading up to the 4th of July, you can help your dog become less sensitive to loud noises. Play recordings of fireworks at a low volume and gradually increase the volume over several days. This should be done carefully and watch your dog’s reaction. The aim is not to scare them but to get them used to the sounds they might hear on the night of the 4th. The sooner you begin to introduce these sounds, the easier it will be for them to adjust on the night of the fireworks. 

Consider Anxiety Aids

There are several anxiety aids available that can help calm your dog. Anxiety wraps or vests, like the Thundershirt, provide gentle pressure around the body, which can be comforting to some dogs. Additionally, discuss with your veterinarian the possibility of using calming supplements or prescription medications if your dog’s anxiety is severe. These should be tested in advance to see how your dog reacts to them. 

Brands like my personal favorite PawTree, offer a range of natural supplements that are safe for dogs, including options that contain CBD and hemp like their Chillax Small Chews or CBD Mega supplement that help calm your Shih Tzu without the psychoactive effects of THC. These products are known for their holistic calming properties and are a good alternative to traditional medications.

Update Identification

With all the comings and goings during the holiday celebrations, there’s a chance your pup could slip out unnoticed. Make sure your dog’s identification tags are up to date and consider microchipping if you haven’t already. This simple step can make a huge difference in getting your pet back safely should they become lost. Each Divine Pup  is sent home already microchipped and ready for their new family. 

Microchipping can also be done at your vet or local animal clinic if you have a dog or Shih Tzu that has not been microchipped previously. 

Practice Routine

Shih Tzu take comfort in routine, and keeping their feeding, walking, and playtimes consistent can provide a great deal of comfort amidst the chaos of the holiday. Make sure to take them out for a walk before the festivities begin, ideally when it’s still quiet outside.

Keep Them Inside

During peak celebration times, particularly when fireworks are being set off, keep your dog indoors in their safe space! Check that all doors, windows, and potential escape routes are secure to prevent your pet from running away in a panic. If they happen to be outside with you for the celebration, holding them so they feel that sense of protection and comfort is a great idea. This will also help you keep an eye on them. 

Day-After Care

Once the celebrations have wound down, spend some extra time with your dog to comfort them and help them settle back into the usual routine. A little extra love and attention can help soothe any lingering anxiety. Making sure to have a relaxed and calm day after such a chaotic one can definitely help soothe any lingering anxiety. 

The Takeaway

The 4th of July doesn’t have to be a stressful time for your Shih Tzu!  With thoughtful preparation and consideration of their needs, you can help them feel secure even amidst the celebrations. By implementing these tips, you ensure a safer and more comfortable holiday for your Shih Tzu, letting both of you enjoy the festive time without undue stress!

author avatar
Ara Hughey
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