Along with picnics and barbecues, the Fourth of July brings a less pleasant yearly ritual for many dog lovers: worrying about a family pooch who panics at the sound of firecrackers.

Betsy and Andy Firebaugh of Santa Cruz, Calif., have reason for concern. They live on a mountain ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean — a usually peaceful scene, except at this time of year, when people illegally set off firecrackers at local beaches. The explosive booms send their otherwise happy Australian shepherd — Seamus — into a frenzy.

“If he’s outside, he can freak out and run away,” Andy says. Or the dog will hunker in a corner inside the house, reduced to a quivering lump of cinnamon-brown fur. One year on the morning after Independence Day, the couple looked everywhere for Seamus.

“We finally found him underneath the bed, cowering,” Betsy recalls. “He wouldn’t come out.”

But to quell the dog’s nerves this year, they say, they may try something new: giving him a squirt of an extract of marijuana that’s mostly cannabidiol (CBD), a component of the cannabis plant that, unlike a better-known component, THC, doesn’t induce a high.

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