Whether its the 4th of July, New Year’s Eve or any other large celebration, many dog owners deal with anxious dogs during fireworks. It’s believed that Independence Day is the day when the highest number of dogs run away. Especially if you are unsure how your dog will react, here are some expert approved tips to keep your dog safe.
Keep Your Dog Away From Fireworks
Don’t take your dog to a fireworks show and definitely don’t leave them outside during fireworks. Many dogs want to get away from the fireworks and won’t think to hide inside but may take off and become confused and not know how to come home.
Make Sure Your Dog has Proper ID
Ensure the information of your dog’s tag is current and that your pup is microchipped. It would help to get a gps tag so if your dog does escape, there’s a better chance of them being returned home.
Create a Safe Spot for Your Dog
Create a place that your dog will feel most comfortable and get them used to it before they need it. Dogs are den animals and will want a space to be able to escape from all the chaos of the fireworks. Try making a space away from windows, like a basement or larger closet so they don’t see or hear the fireworks. If your dog feels safe, use a crate and provide familiar toys and treats.
Play White Noise
You can try leaving on a fan, TV or radio to help drown out the sound of the fireworks. There is some classical music called “Through a Dog’s Ear” that has been shown to have calming effects on dogs.
Comfort Your Dog
If possible, try staying home with your dog or leave them in the hands of a trusted person. Experts say you should comfort your dog and the key to doing so is to remain calm and use a soothing, even tone. Petting them with long, slow, firm strokes the length of their body can be calming also.
Walk Before the Fireworks Start
Head out for a long walk to increase the likelihood that you’ll avoid the sounds. When you do go out, be sure your dog is on a secure leash. It will do wonders if your dog does get startled then you can keep your dog close and under control.
Desensitize Your Dog to the Sounds of Fireworks
If you suspect your dog may freak out, play some soft fireworks sounds to get them used to hearing that noise. If you pair a video of fireworks and sounds with their favorite treat in a process called counter conditioning. The volume should be low enough that your dog can hear the sounds but doesn’t show signs of stress like panting, pacing or trying to hide. You can also increase the sound gradually, varying the source and using different recordings.
Talk to Your Vet
If your dog’s anxiety is severe, considering discussing a medication with your vet that can soothe your dog’s anxiety. If your dog’s anxiety is bad enough, you don’t have any time to prepare and you know your pet will be in a panic, try true therapeutic treatment.
Consider a Trainer
If fear is negatively impacting your dog’s life, consider working with a trainer or behavior consultant who can work on desensitizing your dog to fireworks or their other fears gradually as its never too soon to plan for next year.
No matter what you choose, we hope you, and your four legged friends, have a fun and safe 4th of July.