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4 Ways to Help Your Australian Shepherd’s Fear of Fireworks This 4th of July

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene A. Divina, a resident of the Philippines, is a devoted fur mom to two adorable dogs: a Shih Tzu and a Beagle. With a passion for animals and storytelling, Arlene has channeled her love for dogs into her career as a content writer at iHeartDogs. Her writing captures the essence of the bond between humans and their furry companions, offering insights, tips, and heartfelt stories to a wide audience of dog enthusiasts. Read more
| Published on June 8, 2023

Fireworks can turn the 4th of July into a nightmare for many dogs, and the intelligent, sensitive Australian Shepherd is no exception. These dogs can easily become overwhelmed by the loud noises and bright flashes of light. To help your Australian Shepherd navigate this challenging holiday, we’ve compiled four effective strategies, including the use of CBD oil, to help your pet feel more at ease.

1. Create a Safe and Soundproof Space

The first step in helping your Australian Shepherd deal with the fear of fireworks is to create a comfortable, secure, and soundproofed space. This could be a room in your house, a crate if your dog is used to one, or even a corner designated specifically for this purpose. This should be a place where your dog feels completely safe, with familiar smells and favorite toys.

You can help to soundproof the area by closing doors and windows, and drawing blinds or curtains to block the flashes of light. Playing calming music, white noise, or sounds of nature can help mask the noise of the fireworks. Giving your Australian Shepherd access to this space throughout the 4th of July festivities can help them retreat and recover when the noise becomes too overwhelming.

2. Gradual Desensitization and Counter-conditioning

A time-tested approach to dealing with noise anxiety in dogs is through desensitization and counter-conditioning. This involves slowly introducing your dog to the sounds of fireworks in a controlled and non-threatening way. There are many recordings available online that simulate the sounds of fireworks. By playing these sounds at a low volume and gradually increasing it over a period of time, you can help your dog become less sensitive to the noise.

Counter-conditioning aims to change your dog’s emotional response to the sounds of fireworks. The goal is to associate the sound with positive experiences, such as treats, praise, or play. This process requires patience and consistency but can be very effective when done correctly.

3. Using CBD Oil

CBD (cannabidiol) oil is gaining popularity as a safe and effective method for managing anxiety in dogs. Extracted from the hemp plant, CBD oil is non-psychoactive, which means it won’t give your dog a ‘high.’ Research suggests that CBD oil can help increase the serotonin levels in the brain, a hormone that stabilizes mood and promotes feelings of well-being and happiness.

Administered orally, CBD oil can help reduce your Australian Shepherd’s anxiety during the 4th of July fireworks. Dosage depends on the size of your dog and the concentration of the product, so always start with the lowest suggested dose and adjust as necessary. Be sure to choose a high-quality CBD product made specifically for pets, which ensures it contains no THC or harmful substances. As with any new treatment, it’s best to consult with your vet before starting your dog on CBD oil.

You can learn more about the CBD that the iHeartDogs team uses and recommends here. 

4. Seek Professional Help

Sometimes, a dog’s fear of fireworks can be so severe that it may require professional intervention. A certified animal behaviorist, or a veterinarian experienced in behavioral issues, can provide a comprehensive treatment plan tailored specifically for your Australian Shepherd.

This plan might include various therapeutic techniques, along with the possibility of short-term anti-anxiety medication if the fear is intense. Remember, every dog is different, and what works best for one Australian Shepherd might not work as well for another. Therefore, a customized plan designed by a professional can be an invaluable tool.

The 4th of July should be a time of joy and celebration for everyone in the family, including your Australian Shepherd. By creating a safe space, using desensitization and counter-conditioning techniques, considering the use of CBD oil, and seeking professional help when necessary, you can make this holiday a more comfortable experience for your four-legged family member. As always, be patient with your pet, and show them that they can trust you to keep them safe when the world seems a little too loud.

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