5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Calm on the 4th

(and All Summer Long)
By Dr. Katy Nelson, June 2019

While many of us humans look forward to 4th of July picnics and fireworks, the holiday can be traumatic for our dogs, who typically find the evening’s ear-piercing crashes and booms confusing or downright terrifying.  

And it’s not just festivities on the 4th that make summer a stressful time for dogs. From frequent thunderstorms, trips and visitors to being separated from you when you go away on vacation, there are many reasons our furry friends experience increased anxiety during the summer.

Fortunately, there are some simple, effective ways to soothe your dog’s nerves and keep summer fun for everyone.

1. Stay calm.

Dogs are keen observers of their humans’ behavior, and will pick up on even the slightest change in mood and emotion. While you should try to comfort and reassure your dog, be careful not to overdo it, such that you add to their alarm. Reacting to your dog’s anxiety with nervousness of your own can make the problem worse.

2. Create a safe space.

Many dogs find comfort in being in a crate or bedroom when they’re distressed. If your dog enjoys having a little hideaway, make sure it’s available during stressful events. For some dogs, however, being shut away from the family and activity will elevate their panic, so don’t force a retreat if it’s not a familiar pattern.

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3. Make some noise.

Music can help soothe your pup, and can also help muffle loud noises. If your dog will be home alone, leaving some everyday background noises on can bring about a sense of familiarity and minimize distractions. Try leaving music, the TV or talk radio on at low volume, or keeping a fan or white noise machine going.

4. Work it out.

When you anticipate an event that might disturb your dog, such as a thunderstorm or a day you’ll be at the beach, try giving them some extra exercise ahead of time. A longer walk or romp in the park can help tire them out, making them more interested in sleep and less reactive.

5. Get help from nature.

Luckily, you don’t have to turn to sedatives to calm your anxious pup. There are natural, clinically-studied ingredients that can quickly induce relaxation and increase your dog’s capacity to handle stress.

I partnered with Charlie’s Choice to develop a powerful new stress relief formula for dogs that combines time-tested calming herbs like passionflower, valerian and lemon balm with B vitamins in a delicious cheesy chew. The dogs I see at my clinic love that it tastes like a treat, while their owners are glad to see their dogs experience a decrease in anxiety. Best of all, ProCalm PLUS is made to human-grade specifications for quality and purity you can count on. To learn more, visit stopagingnow.com.

Also, don’t miss this exclusive limited-time offer for The Bark subscribers: Get 30% off the purchase of all Charlie’s Choice products plus free shipping with coupon code PAW30.