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Help with Fireworks Fear
What’s your strategy for a blast-o-phobic dog?
Renzo and I will be skipping the local fireworks display, viewed here from Gas Works Park in Seattle.

I have never been a big fireworks fan. I think it’s a whole lotta noise and smoke and garbage for nothing. In the past, I’ve kept my opinion to myself and skipped the displays because a lot of people love rockets and fountains and Roman candles—why do I need to be a buzzkill?

Of course, there are plenty of dogs in my camp. I’ve heard the stories about dogs wimpering, shivering, drooling and fleeing yards in anxiety. Until recently, I’ve counted myself lucky that my dog Lulu is chill when it comes to the whole flash-crash-boom thing. But last year we adopted a rescue dog from Alaska, and he’s an entirely different kettle of fur. He doesn’t like loud noises. The few times neighbors have celebrated with firecrackers has sent Renzo into a fury of agitated barking. What will I do now that the big dance is here?

Normally, we would flee to the quiet of the mountains but this year we have obligations that keep us in town in a house that is equidistant between two major municipal displays and ground zero for a slew of DIY pyrotechnicians. Ugh. My local Humane Society has sent out a notice of how to prepare. With four main points—keep dogs inside, create a calming environment, keep them away from fireworks, update identification—it's only a start for me.

So I’d love some expertise from the field. How can I keep Renzo from a full-blown night of terror? I’ve heard that some dogs feel safe and serene in a bathtub. Does that really work? Has anyone tried a T-shirt or a cape? What about sound therapy? Flower essences? Medications? What has worked for you?
 

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Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com

iStockphoto.

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