Dogs all over the USA suffer from fear and anxiety on Independence Day. If your dog is scared of fireworks try these tips and tricks to keep your fur babies safe and calm this Fourth of July. There are plenty of ways to keep your pets less stressed and anxious when it sounds like the whole neighborhood is blowing up. Read on to learn our best tips.
How to keep your dog calm during fireworks
This is the easiest (and most effective) way to keep your pup relaxed is to stay home with your dog. If you know your dog has a tendency to become stressed when exposed to fireworks, don’t leave your dog alone. If you have exciting plans, then hire someone who can come and stay home with your dog while you are gone. Having a caring human around will make things so much better for your pet.
Keep your dog safe during fireworks
Make sure your is wearing a collar or harness with up to date information in case they get lost. If they have a microchip make sure that the info is up to date. Double check your gates, fences and door latches. Fix any possible escape routes. Dogs will do just about anything to escape when panicked. For many shelters the busiest time is right after Independence Day.
- Close the blinds/drapes to shut out the visual effects like flashes of light, that your dog may associate with explosive noises.
- Close all the windows and use fans to help circulate the air.
- Close all internal doors of your home
- Put on a loud movie or music to help drown out the noise of the fireworks.
It’s very important that you stay calm. Give your dog lots of cuddles, pets and treats. Showing extra affection will not reinforce “bad behavior” when they are feeling terrified of fireworks. Snuggle your dog as much as possible and give them plenty of treats. You can’t love them too much!
Try a ThunderShirt
A ThunderShirt is a compression vest that your put on your dog to help keep them calm. It’s kind of like a weighted blanked for dogs. By applying gentle pressure around the torso, like a comforting and continuous hug, the ThunderShirt helps to calm and reduce anxiety in over 80% of dogs. They make ThunderShirts in all sizes from Chihuahua to Great Dane.
Distract your dog
If your dog is only mildly sensitive, you might find using a food puzzle can distract them a lot. There are many food puzzles to purchase in any pet store or online. The Tug of War ball above is a great one.
Medicate…but only if necessary
Certain types of tranquilizers such as Acepromazine, act like dissociative anesthetics and can alter perception, which may make your dog more fearful. Instead of prescription medication try supplements that can help calm them down or pheromone collars. Pheromone collars are placed around your dogs neck and release pheromone scents and essential oils like lavender or chamomile to help calm your dog down. Talk to your vet to make the best decision about medication to ease your dog’s anxiety.
Is it normal for dogs to be scared of fireworks?
It is natural for dogs to be afraid of loud noises. The sounds trigger their nervous systems, and they can become anxious or afraid. Running away from the noise is a survival instinct. Remember, to your dog, the experience of fireworks is different than other natural loud noises, like thunder.
When trying any of these methods like ThunderShirts or supplements make sure you introduce them at least a few days before the fireworks start so that your pet has time to get used to them and won’t end up even more anxious because it is something else that is unfamiliar.
What did I miss? Let me know your best tips in the comments!
You may also like: