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Dog Health Advice & Tips for Pet Owners

How to Calm Dogs from Fireworks and Firecrackers on Fourth of July

The Fourth of July allows you to celebrate and spend quality time with your loved ones. But before you get carried away with the festivities, keep in mind that it could be a stressful experience for your dogs.  In this article, you’ll find out how to calm dogs from fireworks and prevent anxious, erratic behavior. We’ll be covering the essential preparations for the Fourth of July, safety precautions during the event, and the aftercare needed following the celebration. Why are dogs afraid of fireworks? Dogs perceive loud noises, such as fireworks, thunderstorms, and gunshots as threats. These overwhelming sounds can trigger a fight or flight response, causing your dog to show signs of aggressive behavior. As a result, your pets may bark, whine, and pant excessively. In some instances, your dogs may run away and hide, which could cause them to develop an ACL tear. If this fear isn’t managed properly, it could turn into noise phobia and affect your pet’s quality of life. Dogs with noise phobia may urinate, defecate, drool, tremble, and shake when they hear any type of sound, even if it’s not associated with danger. Consult a veterinarian immediately should you notice any signs of canine noise phobia. Preparing for the Fourth of July Proper ID for dogs Before the July 4 celebrations, ensure that your dog has a proper ID with updated information, including your name, address, contact numbers, and pet’s name. It must also contain vaccination records and specify your pet’s medical needs. This way, you can easily find your pets if they try to run away.  Updated microchip for your dogs Unlike ID tags, a microchip for dogs can’t be tampered with because it’s implanted into their body. This approach provides a reliable and quick way to find lost dogs. During the procedure, a veterinarian uses a long needle to implant the microchip, which is smaller than a rice grain. Usually, the chip is placed between the shoulder blades. Desensitize your pets If you already know that your dog is afraid of loud noises, try to desensitize them to these sounds. First, prepare their favorite treats, then play the sounds of fireworks at a low volume. Offer treats as they listen to fireworks and firecracker sounds from your TV or DVD player. This way, you’re helping them disassociate these noises with dangerous situations. Take an updated picture of your dogs Take a current photo of your dogs that you can show to people in case they try to hide and run away. You can post these pictures on social media or show them to your neighbors. Allot a safe space for your pets Before the 4th of July, make sure that your dogs have their own hiding spot they can retreat to if they feel scared of the fireworks and firecrackers. Set up a quiet space away from windows, so they can’t hear the noises and see the bright flashes from the fireworks. Keep their favorite toys and treats nearby. Play with your pets Maybe you’re still feeling unsure and asking yourself how to comfort your dogs during fireworks displays. One way is by playing with your canine friends before the festivities. Playtime can provide your pets with peace of mind before everyone starts making noise. What to do during the 4th of July festivities Below are the ways on how to calm dogs during the Fourth of July celebration: Leave your pets inside the house If you’re going outside for parades, parties, or other gatherings, make sure to leave your pets inside the house. Better yet, hire a pet sitter to ensure dog safety.  Close windows and curtains Want to know an effective trick on how to calm your dogs during fireworks displays? Close the windows and curtains to muffle the sounds outside. Keeping the curtains drawn also prevents your pet from seeing any bright lights from the fireworks that could incite panic. Moreover, closing the windows ensures that no firecracker remnants can enter the house, which could potentially harm your dogs.  Keep dangerous items away from your pets Since you’re leaving your pets inside the house, it’s important to keep fireworks, sticks, sparklers, knives, skewers, and other dangerous items away from your dogs. Remember to maintain your house’s safety to prevent accidents and common injuries. Escape-proof the house Since dogs tend to run away when they hear loud noises, you’ll need to make your house as escape-proof as possible. Make sure to set up a fence or barrier that won’t cause injuries. But despite putting up barriers for their safety, make sure your pets are still able to freely roam the house. Leave them chew toys and treats Another effective way to keep your dog calm is by giving them chew toys and treats. Sinking their teeth into a toy or treat can keep your dog preoccupied while there are loud noises outside. Make your pets play with interactive toys and puzzles during the celebration to distract them from the overwhelming sounds. Play relaxing music Like humans, animals also find comfort in soothing, classical music. Turn on the TV or the radio and play slow, relaxing tunes. Playing music can help divert their attention from the noises outside. After the Fourth of July celebrations Check for fireworks remnants It’s crucial to check your house for any harmful debris before letting your dogs play again. Dogs are naturally curious and playful, so they may accidentally pick up and ingest firecracker remnants and contaminants. Ensure a safe playing area Keep your house free of food scraps, such as skewers, napkins, or tissues. These objects could pose a risk to your canine friends, causing gastrointestinal problems. So make sure that their playing area is free from pointy items and harmful debris. Consult a veterinarian Contact a veterinarian immediately if your dog shows signs of anxiety even after the celebrations. For severe conditions, your vet may refer you to a clinical animal behaviorist. Fireworks phobia is common among dogs, especially during events such as the Fourth of July. Help your dog feel safe before, during, and after the festivities. For more tips on canine health, check out the LickSleeve blog.

How to Know if Your Dog's Leg is Broken or Sprained

Dogs are naturally active and full of energy, which can be inspiring, especially when they can eat a full meal, then turn around and run laps around us! However, they are not immune to injury and can hurt themselves even if we supervise their activities. A common injury that pet owners should look out for is leg injuries. Whether a broken limb or just a sprain, they can become serious problems and lead to chronic disorders that drastically reduce their quality of life and yours. As pet owners, it's our responsibility to assess the needs of our dogs and educate ourselves on what type of injury they may have. Here are some common ways to evaluate whether or not they sprained or broke a leg and solutions you can examine before and after you take them to the vet. Is my Dog’s Leg Broken or Sprained?  Leg-related injuries are caused by numerous factors like trauma, underlying diseases, excessive play, etc. They can also be due to genetics. For instance, big and high-energy dogs like golden retrievers and German shepherds are more likely to have leg injuries due to their size. But regardless of whether or not your pet is a high-energy breed, you must know how to tell if your dog's leg is broken or sprained so you can give it appropriate care. Even though both injuries have similar symptoms, a fractured or sprained leg needs specific treatments and maintenance. Fractures are divided into 3 categories; incomplete or complete fractures, transverse or comminuted fractures, and open or closed fractures. The first type of fracture happens when the exterior of the bone has a partial or total snap. Transverse Fractures are cracks that occur straight across or diagonally on the bone. Diagonal breaks are called oblique fractures, while bone breaks in three or more pieces are called comminuted fractures. Open or Compound Fractures are breaks that are further aggravated by a wound. This usually involves the bone sticking out of the limb. The opposite is true with closed fractures, wherein the bone is broken internally while the skin remains intact. Sprains occur when one or more ligaments connect bones to other bones, and joints become damaged. This condition depends on the severity of the injury. Sprains often happen around the knees, elbows, ankles, and other joints that are always moving. Evaluating if Your Dog’s Leg is Broken Proper assessment is the key to treating the injury of your dog correctly. To determine the best course of action to take for your injured pet, you need to learn how to evaluate your dog's condition. And if you’re unsure, please take your dog to a veterinary professional. There is nothing worse than finding out your dog has been living with a broken limb, and the bones fused back together wrong. Here are three visual signs you need to watch out for if you suspect your dog has a broken leg.  Exposed bone Okay, this one is obvious, but especially with breeds that are hairy, you should know, if your pet is suddenly no longer putting weight on their leg or howling in pain when you approach them, examine him or her carefully for any open fractures, which will be easy to see, but then immediately go to the nearest vet or emergency hospital. Bruising You can also check for any bruising around the leg of your dog if you suspect it has a sprain but also a fracture. You may not see it right away if your dog is furry, but the affected area will slowly turn purple, swell, or become tender to the touch. Your dog will also squirm, cry, or have a violent reaction whenever you try to touch and press the area. Take your pet to a verterinary clinic for x-rays to assess the underlying problem. Sudden or unprecedented aggression or behavior Pain can cause even the friendliest canines to turn reclusive, aggressive, or even violent. If youre normally social dog is isolating, licking excessively, or barring their teeth, there may be pain beneath the surface, and a veterinary doctor should have a look. These changes can take place suddenly so be cautious if you notice a quick change in the temperament of your dog, it might be dealing with an internal break that’s causing it pain. How to Tell if a Dog’s Leg is Sprained Let’s now focus on what would happen if a dog sprained its leg and the symptoms to watch out for: Lameness One of the most apparent signs of a sprained leg is sudden inactivity or limping. If your dog starts to stagger around your home or changes its natural gait, chances are it sprained one of its legs. This symptom is also noticeable once your dog take weight off one leg, or alternatively, puts more weight on one leg as it walks and moves around. Excessive licking It's animal instinct for dogs to clean their wounds by licking them. It will try to alleviate the pain of an injury by licking the affected area, even if licking is the exact activity that’s causing the problem. If you notice that your dog is licking or nibbling on one spot on its leg, it could mean that that specific area is in pain.   Hiding or reluctance to activities Suppose you notice your dog is more lethargic than usual and isn't as active or enthusiastic for walks and playtime. It may even hide under a bed to get away from anything that might cause most pain. In that case, it might be nursing an injury. Dogs will often sit in a favorite, or hidden spot and wait until they feel better. Helping your pet through the process When your pet is injured you need to address the immediate pain, get it to a vet, and help it recover better. Here three steps you can take: Ice packs It can be challenging to determine the severity of your dog's injury. Your priority should always be to get them to a vet for an immediate and accurate diagnosis. If your sure it’s a sprain, you can apply cold packs as they permit you. Applying packs to the injured area for 15 minutes, twice a day can help improve circulation and reduce the swelling of the affected area. Seek veterinary care If any of the sprain symptoms listed above lasts for more than 24 hours, you should immediately seek immediate veterinary care. Your local vet will conduct a proper diagnosis on your pet and give you a concrete answers as to what is going on with your pet. Find a cone alternative If your dog has to undergo surgery to deal with the issue, then you’ll likely be sent home with an elizabethan collar, or e-collar. This is used to prevent them from licking and infecting the incisions. While these cones are common, they can be challenging for both the dog and owners. It prevents them from moving around and drinking water properly.  Instead of using the cone-of-shame, you can instead let your dog wear a Lick Sleeve over its recovering leg. This gives total coverage and protection without hindering the mobility of your pet. This can improve your pet's recovery time and keep them active as they heal. Know How to Take Care of Your Dog’s Injuries Properly It can be difficult for pet owners like yourself to know that their dog is in pain. It is a frightening and frustrating experience that leaves you clueless about what you should do. If you want to learn more about how you can keep your pets happy and healthy, check out Lick Sleeve’s blog here.

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