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4 Ways to Help Your Golden Retriever’s Fear of Fireworks This 4th of July

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene Divina, one of the content writers at IHD, loves going on adventures with her adorable fur baby. She now creates informative content for pet parents. Read more
| Published on June 8, 2023

For many of us, Independence Day is a time of joy and celebration, a night filled with awe-inspiring fireworks that light up the sky in a beautiful spectacle of colors. But for our four-legged friends, especially Golden Retrievers who are known for their sensitivity, this can be a time of extreme stress and anxiety. The loud, unexpected sounds and bright flashes of light can lead to fear and panic in dogs. As a pet parent, there are ways you can help ease your Golden Retriever’s fear of fireworks. This article will explore four methods, including the use of CBD oil, to make the 4th of July a less stressful event for your beloved pet.

1. Desensitization and Counterconditioning

Desensitization and counterconditioning is a method that involves slowly introducing your dog to the sounds of fireworks in a controlled environment. You can start by playing recordings of fireworks at a very low volume, associating these sounds with positive experiences, such as playtime or treats. Gradually, over several weeks or months, increase the volume as your dog becomes more comfortable. This slow and steady approach can help your dog become desensitized to the sounds, reducing their fear and anxiety.

Counterconditioning involves changing your dog’s emotional response to the sounds of fireworks. For example, if your Golden Retriever has a favorite toy or game, try engaging them in this activity while the sound of fireworks is playing in the background. Over time, this can help them associate the noise with positive experiences rather than fear.

2. Creating a Safe Space

Many dogs, when scared, seek shelter. You can help your Golden Retriever by creating a safe, quiet, and comforting place in your home where they can retreat to when the fireworks begin. This could be a quiet room with the windows closed and curtains drawn to muffle the sound and block out the light from the fireworks. You can make this space more comfortable by adding your dog’s favorite blanket, toys, or even a piece of your clothing that carries your scent. This can provide a sense of security and help calm their anxiety.

3. CBD Oil

The use of CBD oil has gained popularity in recent years for its potential benefits in managing anxiety and stress in pets. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. Unlike THC, another compound found in these plants, CBD doesn’t have psychoactive properties, meaning it won’t get your dog ‘high’.

Studies have shown that CBD can interact with the endocannabinoid system in both humans and dogs. This system is involved in regulating various functions, including mood and stress responses. By interacting with this system, CBD may help promote a sense of calm and well-being.

CBD oil can be administered orally, either directly into your dog’s mouth or mixed with their food. It’s important to start with a low dose and gradually increase it based on your dog’s response. It’s also essential to choose a high-quality CBD oil that’s specifically made for pets and has been tested for purity and potency.

As with any supplement, it’s recommended to consult with your vet before starting your dog on CBD. They can provide guidance on the appropriate dosage based on your dog’s weight, age, and overall health.

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

4. Professional Help

If your Golden Retriever’s fear of fireworks is severe, it might be time to seek professional help. A veterinary behaviorist or a certified professional dog trainer can provide you with personalized strategies to help your dog cope with their fear. This could involve a combination of behavior modification techniques and possibly, anti-anxiety medications.

Remember, it’s essential to prioritize your dog’s well-being during the fireworks season. By taking these steps, you can help ease your Golden Retriever’s fear and make the 4th of July a more enjoyable experience for both of you.

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