Fireworks are often a terrifying experience for our pets, especially dogs. Since dogs are so much more sensitive to sound, fireworks can cause stress and anxiety and cause dogs to seek a safe haven. July 5th is usually the busiest day of the year for Animal Shelters due to so many pets getting lost trying to get away from the BOOMS of Fireworks. Since fireworks in the summer are inevitable, we share 5 ways to keep your dog calm during fireworks so that your family can enjoy a relaxing summer celebrating from the comfort and safety of your home.
1. Provide a safe space for your Dog
Creating a space where your pup can go to feel safe and protected during a scary time (e.g. Fireworks or severe storms) will ease their anxiety. A crate is a great place to start. Include a bed, add their favorite blanket, give them a few toys for comfort and their cozy den will feel like a safe house when things get loud or spooky. If you have extra space or are hosting a party, reserve a quiet room for your pets that they can escape to when things get overwhelming. Setting up an intentional space for them to feel safe is vital, so they have more options than just hiding under your bed or in the bathtub.
2. Desensitize your pet to Fireworks
Playing videos or recordings of Fireworks at home in short spurts can help your dog become more comfortable with the “real thing.” Using a YouTube Fireworks Video is a great place to start. Be sure not to overdo it, as these can also make your dog more sensitive to loud noises if over-exposed. If, after a couple of these sessions, your dog’s reaction has not eased, you may want to switch gears. Try playing music or watching TV recordings of outdoor festivities that mimic the sounds of celebrations and fireworks as practice for the real thing.
Changing the visual atmosphere of the room can also help your dogs receive fireworks more easily. Closing the curtains can help muffle the sound and hide the visual flashing component, which can also cause alarm. A dark place with sounds coming from a distance can help our dogs handle fireworks better.
Never underestimate the power of EXERCISE! Taking your dog for a nice long walk in the morning will help ease their anxiety in the evening. As the saying goes, “A tired pup is a happy pup.” Having been properly exercised, they are more likely to sleep or feel relaxed during stressful times later in the day. Be sure to take proper care when exercising your dog during the summer months. We recommend walking your dog during morning hours when the temperatures are cooler, and the ground is not hot or harmful to their paws. After their morning exercise, they will have no energy left to be fearful or anxious about fireworks or storms occurring in the evenings.
4. Be home with your Dog during Firework times
This option is not for everyone, but if possible, stay home with your pet during prime fireworks hours. Your presence will provide the best possible comfort to your four-legged baby. Being home allows you to problem solve, distract, and pivot as needed. When you are home, you can adjust the TV volume and put on or take off their Thundershirt, as needed. The Thundershirt is another great tool to keep dogs calm during stressful times by creating comfort and calm.
Giving delicious treats or playing with their favorite toys will keep their mind off their anxiety and distract them as well.
The way you act also affects your dogs. A calm non-distraught owner will convey calmness to their pets in any situation. Overall, your dogs will be happier and more confident knowing you are with them.
If you cannot be home, you may want to purchase a Dogness Smart Camera with a treat dispenser. This will allow you to keep a close eye on your pet and provide a delicious distraction for them until they are safe in your arms again.
5. Talk with your Vet
If you implement the above tips and your pet is still riddled with anxiety, reach out to your veterinarian. There are many calming agent options a vet can recommend for your pet. This includes anything from all-natural CBD oils to calming chews as well as over-the-counter and prescription medications. The pet may also recommend specific trainers or training techniques to help your dog feel comfortable around loud noises and fireworks. Your Vet will be able to guide you in the best direction given your dog’s history and current state.
As pet parents, we intend to keep our fur babies safe. Fireworks, and our pets’ reactions to them, can be unpredictable. These 5 ways to keep your dog calm during fireworks are just some suggestions to help your dogs during the firework season. Pets still escape from homes despite our best efforts, so please make sure your pet comes home safely by keeping their ID tags updated. Microchipping your pets will also help quickly identify them in case they run away. Be sure to include your pets’ name, a working phone number, and your current street address in the identification.
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Just Around the Corner offers daily Dog Walking and Pet Sitting in Plymouth, MA. To learn more about how Just Around the Corner can help, check out our Services Page. You can also Contact Us for more information.