Pets don't love Fourth of July — from calming coats to classical music, tips from a vet to keep them happy

·2 min read

While most of us are lucky enough to get a day off on the Fourth of July, there’s one member of our family who may not have as much fun as we will: our dogs.

According to a 2013 study from the University of Bristol, dogs are more likely to respond fearfully to fireworks than any other loud noise — including gunshots and thunder. But that’s just one of the many potential issues pet owners may run into on the Fourth. A report from the America Kennel Society found that more dogs go missing on July 4 (and 5) than on any other day of the year.

So how can you ensure a happy, healthy holiday, while still enjoying quality time with your pet? To answer this question, Yahoo Lifestyle sat down with Lisa Lippman, New York City veterinarian and the Director of Virtual Medicine for Bond Vet. Here are a few pointers from Lippman when it comes to keeping your dog calm and safe.

Quality of life is everything when it comes to pet ownership. After all, what’s the use of having a pet if you aren’t enjoying each other’s company? . . Thankfully, humans and animals (particularly cats and dogs) have evolved together over millennia and have learned to trust and love one another. But while our pets may love us instinctually, they certainly aren’t innately hardwired to live with us. They need to learn how to live with us in harmony, and that’s where training comes in. . . While most people manage to house train their pets, not all pet owners go the extra mile. And they don’t know what they’re missing out on! Having a well-trained, adaptable, and responsive pet is one of life’s great joys. And training pets should be fun for you both, consider this: the happier we are, the happier our pets will be. . . This is especially true of dogs, who often require a lot more training and socialization than the average cat. Exposing your dog to the outside world and socializing them, training them to listen to you even when distracted, and working together on housebreaking and following the rules of the house will make an enormous difference in the relationship between you and your canine companion.Plus, training can be a lot of fun! Dogs thrive when given a task and love being praised. Training can also be a way to keep them mentally stimulated. . . In addition, training dogs helps save lives. In the U.S. alone, 3.3 million dogs enter animal shelters each year. A majority of these dogs are surrendered due to behavioral issues that could have been prevented if the dogs had been trained properly from the start. 650K of these dogs will be euthanized :( . . Training your pet is probably the best gift you can give them, and it’s certainly the best thing you can do for yourself! Train your pup, live an enjoyable life with your dog and help save lives ❤️ Make sure to watch my stories today where @allthingspups will show you all about the ways in which we recommend you seek training (hint: positive reinforcement) and get started!

A post shared by Dr. Lisa Lippman DVM (@drlisalippman) on May 7, 2019 at 12:46pm PDT

Keep your pet indoors

Lippman says to keep your dog indoors as much as possible and close all the windows and blinds. Not only will they hear the fireworks less, but it will also minimize the chance that they get spooked and run away. It’s a good idea to make sure your pet’s microchip is up to date, but in the event that your pet does go missing, Lippmann suggests downloading an app that can help with a lost pet, such as Finding Rover.

Drown out the sound

One of the ways to help temper the sound of fireworks is to add another sound. Lippman suggests turning on the TV or classical music. "The problem is that that fireworks are unpredictable and really loud," Lippman tells Yahoo Lifestyle. "So having a constant soothing sound can really help."

Calming coat

If music and your own calming touch aren't enough to help your dog, Lippman says you can consider what’s called a compression calming coat. Being enveloped in pressure is clinically proven to safely lower heart rates with a calming effect. They are available online and at pet stores — and really work. "It makes them feel safe and secure during this time of year," she says.

Talk to a professional

Lastly, if you know your pet is upset during this time of year, Lippman says the smartest thing is to consult with your veterinarian to discuss behavioral therapy and medication. "There are all kinds of modalities — including medications — that we can use to make your pet more comfortable."

This story was originally published on July 2, 2019, at 11:52 a.m. ET.

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