(UnitedVoice.com) – Every year as we close in on different holidays, but especially the fourth of July, we see and hear fireworks being set off. It’s one way people celebrate just about anything. However, not everyone in the neighborhood appreciates the displays.
The loud noises can set off a severe fear response in our furry four-legged family members and in people suffering from PTSD. Because so many cities canceled their displays due to the limitations COVID-19 placed on large gatherings, more people may be firing them off at home. The summer of 2020 could be the worst in many years.
Our furbabies have extremely sensitive hearing and the loud unpredictable timing triggers their fight or flight instinct. Imagine sitting safe and secure in the house when suddenly huge explosions start rattling the windows and you have no idea where they could possibly be coming from.
Anybody would be frightened out of their wits. The pups can’t do anything about it, but fortunately, their humans can help make it easier for them by doing things like:
- Make sure to bring them inside and under no circumstances whatsoever, leave them outside even if they’re secured by a leash. The 4th of July is the number one day for dogs running away from yards.
- Take them for a long walk before the time it’s likely people will start setting off fireworks. This will tucker them out and perhaps help them sleep through the worst of it.
- In the run-up to the holiday, purchase a compression shirt like the ThunderShirt. They wrap snuggly around their chest and underside, giving them a sense of security.
- Ask your veterinarian if an antihistamine like Benadryl® would be appropriate in order to calm them down and alleviate some of their anxiety.
Unfortunately, there’s no single surefire way to help them. Sometimes the best one can do is just be there for them and maybe just scratching their ears or rubbing their bellies.
For those who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, the celebration surrounding holidays like the 4th of July can be especially disturbing. For example, people who have served in the military and had to endure live combat may be particularly susceptible to being triggered.
More on illegal fireworks, which can be awful and triggering for our Veterans with PTSD. @MilitarywPTSD
— LA City Attorney (@CityAttorneyLA) June 27, 2020
Some experts think the problem may be more closely related to the random timing of the explosions, rather than the explosions themselves. Fortunately for them, doctors and other patients have some suggestions as to how to cope.
- Advise nearby neighbors of the problem or put a sign in the yard that says something along the lines of: “Combat veteran lives here. Please be courteous with fireworks.”
- Use a set of earplugs or headphones to help muffle the sounds of the blasts.
- Use some of the relaxation techniques mental health practitioners recommend or simply find a quiet spot in the house and go through old photographs of times that were uplifting and connect with things that bring joy.
- If it’s practical, take a short trip to somewhere away from urban areas where close proximity to fireworks is less likely.
Given the troubled times we live in, anything that brings people closer, like celebrating an event in our common history, is far and away better than dwelling on the people who were trying to drive a wedge between the different factions that make up the US. Luckily, those among us who suffer a fear response to the celebrations – two-legged and four-legged alike — have a myriad of resources to turn to in order to cope
Have a safe and happy Independence Day!
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