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Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta

You’ve probably heard this a gazillion times already, but it can't hurt to say it again ---- More dogs end up in animal shelters during and after the 4th of July holiday more than any other time of year because fireworks can scare the wits out of them.

When Golden Retrievers are scared, they can have a tendency to bolt and keep running for long distances until they get far away from whatever scared them. And if the fireworks keep going off, the dog will keep running.

Some people think their Golden will be O.K. if they leave it in a fenced yard, but you’d be surprised to see just how high a panicked dog can jump a fence. Or dig under it for that matter.

And if you do leave your Golden Retriever alone in your house while you celebrate the 4th? Be prepared to dip into your savings as you might found out just how much damage a truly frightened dog can cause.

Even if you stay home and cookout in the backyard, your presence won’t necessarily prevent your dog from trying to run away once the fireworks start in and around your neighborhood.

But keeping your Golden safe and calm during the 4th of July celebrations isn’t beyond your control. Here are some quick tips that might help you and your family.

Exercise your Golden Retriever before the fireworks start. Make time in your schedule to give your dog an extra long workout before the fireworks begin. Dogs that have been thoroughly exercised are calmer and easier to keep quiet. They will also sleep more deeply and consequently will be less likely to be disturbed by the noises outside.

Stay home with your dog. Not everyone can stay at home on the 4th, but your dog’s fear of fireworks can be exacerbated if you aren’t there to provide reassurance that they are safe. This is especially important if you have a new dog in the house as you won’t know how he reacts to fireworks.

Keep Calm. Your dog reacts to your non-verbal cues. If you jump or tense up when you hear fireworks because you are anticipating your dog’s fear, you may make his fear worse.

Drown out the sounds. Turn up the stereo or television and keep your windows closed during the fireworks. Something that can provide background noise like a large fan or air conditioner can help as well.

Respect your Golden's fear. Allow your dog to hide if he feels more comfortable in the crate or under a bed. Don’t pull him out or try to force him closer to the fireworks in an attempt to get him used to the sounds. Just let him stay where it’s comfortable and provide reassurance that it’s completely safe.

Provide a distraction. Break out your dog’s favorite treats, play a game, or give him some extra cuddle time.

Try a Thundershirt. Some people swear by them. The pressure it provides around your dog's body can have a very calming effect on the nervous system.

Be Prepared. Make sure your Golden Retriever is wearing ID tags with his name, your name, and your current working phone number. Get your dog microchipped if he doesn’t have one already.

Do you have any tips for firecraker-scared Goldens that have worked positively in your home? Any stories about what you've done during the 4th of July to help your dog get through all of those scary noises outside? Please share them with GRRA. We'd love to hear from you!

Have a great holiday and be sure to keep your dog safe and calm this weekend.

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