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July Fireworks: Keeping Them Calm

small fluffy brown dog hiding under bed

Ahh, the good old 4th of July—backyard barbeques, family time, and an excuse for a day outdoors with the dog you love. But when dark sets in, and neighbors start launching their star-spangled display of lights around the block, your dog will likely want to run for the hills! Much like thunderstorms, the loud, vibrating noise of fireworks is both unfamiliar and frightening to our dogs. But look on the bright side—there are ways you can help keep their fears at bay.

The key is to gradually get your dog accustomed to the sound he associates with a negative experience. The easiest way to introduce him to the idea is to play videos of fireworks—with good sound quality—on repeat until he slowly begins to welcome the experience. Simply go on YouTube and do a video search for fireworks. Start off using a lower volume, and give him a treat or cuddle with him so he can begin associating fireworks with positivity. If he starts to panic at any point, turn the volume down and take a break. Depending on his comfort level, turn the volume up when needed.

Something else to remember is dogs smell fear. Make sure you react positively to any fireworks display when in your dog’s presence. Act as if you would any other day and try not to baby him because this may actually reinforce his fear. Instead, try drowning out the noise with a loud fan, background music, or your favorite T.V. show.

You may also want to consider the latest anti-anxiety inventions—the Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap®. Both products use pressure to “hug” your dog and calm him, reducing anxiety from loud noises, separation, travel, crate training, hyperactivity, and more.

Some of your dogs may react more seriously to a fireworks display than others. If your dog suffers from a serious phobia of fireworks, your vet will be the best source for guidance and answers. He or she may want to prescribe your dog medication or suggest sessions with a trainer or behaviorist.

Your dog may never fully welcome the sound of fireworks, but the good news is there is such a thing as making progress. With a little patience, anything is possible!

  • When Should You Switch Your Senior Dog to Soft Food?

    smiling lab sitting in front of brick wall


    As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.

    When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.

    two dogs eating from two bowls

    Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food

    If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.
     

    fluffy brown dog yawning showing teeth

    Teeth Sensitivity

    As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.

    However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.

    Digestion Aid

    Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.

    Hydration Help

    It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.

    girl kissing older dog on the head

    Slower Metabolism

    Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.

    Picky Eaters

    While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!

    Whether you choose dry food, soft food  or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.

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