Whether it’s the official city fireworks or your neighbor’s sideshow, fireworks can be stressful and downright scary for dogs. Dogs have no idea what or where the rapid firing, booming sounds are coming from and whether it’s nearby or directed at them. Many dogs are so scared, that animal shelters report 4th of July as their busiest day of the year. In fact, it’s not unheard of for dogs to bolt out of the house, sometimes right through a screen door or even a window. Don’t let this be your pet.
Here are a few tips to calm your dog during fireworks (or during other loud events) and keep them safe.
Create A Safe Place
Whether you’ll be home to comfort your distressed pup or leaving them at home alone, it’s best to set up an indoor safety and comfort zone. This might be in the bathroom with their crate or another small, confined area, preferably a place away from windows.
After your dog is situation, give them a distracting and time-consuming puzzle toy or stuffable treat like a frozen peanut butter Kong. Also include their favorite bedding and toy too. A safe place with fun game and treats helps to calm your dog.
Block the Noise
In addition to setting up a cozy spot in a windowless area, you want to stifle out the noise. Introduce other, less intimidating noises, such as the TV, music, or even a loud overhead fan. This helps to mask the sounds from the festivities and offers familiarity. Draw the blinds and close all the windows to further block out the sound. Don’t be afraid to turn up volume if it will help calm your dog.
Use Anti-Anxiety Products
If your dog is already known to have anxiety issues, a fear of loud noises, or fireworks specifically, speak to your veterinarian ahead of the big day. A vet might prescribe a one-time sedative to ease their nerves. Alternatively, they might recommend over the counter, homeopathic options like a DAP collar, Bach’s Rescue Remedy, or ThunderShirt. You might also try CDB treats or oil, like Dope Dog.
Because some dogs have a better response to certain products compared to others, it’s a good idea to test them out ahead of time.
Put Tags on Your Dog
Don’t forget to put a collar with tags on your dog. Also make sure your contact details are update to date and legible. This applies even if your dog is microchipped. If someone finds your dog with tags, you will get a call straight away.
Without tags, your dog could easily become stranded at a neighbor’s house while they figure out what to do (post signs, call shelters, or keep your dog for themselves). Or your dog could end up in the shelter. If your microchip data is not up to date, then instead of getting a call the next day, your dog would be put up for adoption or euthanized. Put tags on your dog.
Leave Your Dog At Home
While we all want to include our dogs during special events, sometimes it’s not the best idea. Unless your dog is a trained service dog that has been desensitized to crowds and loud noises, the fireworks display coupled with large crowds is not the right venue for your dog. Instead, let them join in your afternoon 4th of July barbeque, or even better, treat them to an early morning trail run with just you – his favorite pal.
Happy Fourth of July!
Originally posted on July 1, 2014.