Fireworks are a popular display of celebration, victory, and freedom around the world. But for dog owners, fireworks can become a source of worry. Dogs generally become anxious and restless during a fireworks display. They might even try to run away to get away from the cause of their anxiety. To avoid losing your dog, calming them down is necessary. Read on to find out more about this phenomenon and effective methods for de-stressing your furry friend.
Why Are Dogs Afraid of Fireworks?
The expert opinion states that dogs become jittery because they can’t locate the source of the loud bangs and flashing lights. They assume that the stimuli are from an unknown threat and react accordingly. If left on their own, the fear will only heighten for your fur baby. So, it is best to take action and calm your dog.
Signs Your Dog Is Nervous About Fireworks
Some of the anxious behavior is obvious during the light show. Dogs exhibit whining, cowering, barking, panting, and howling. They might even try to hide or seek out comfort by clinging to you. Or they might go to the other end of the spectrum and behave erratically. This behavior includes pooping or peeing inside the house or wrecking your belongings.
Some dogs, however, show subtle changes in behavior. Your pup might quietly sit in a corner. They might visit a room they don’t usually go to or sit in a spot where they don’t usually sit. Even licking their lips and frequently yawning can be an indicator of anxiety.
If you’re dog exhibits these signs during the fireworks show, they are clearly stressed out. If not addressed, this continued stress will begin to affect your pup’s quality of life.
Calming Your Dog
Fireworks might be a spectacle for humans, but dogs get frightened and need to be calmed down. We have gathered the best tips to comfort your pup during this time.
Before the fireworks pop, make irresistible treats for your dog, as recommended by Ilana Reiser- a Veterinary behaviorist. Have your pup’s favorite food items at hand. Be it salmon, chicken breasts, or something to nibble on- these treats will help distract your dog from the booms in the sky. As soon as the fireworks go off, periodically feed your dog the delicacy you have prepared.
A broth popsicle might work wonders here as well.
Playing calming music can act as white noise for your dog. Make sure all windows are closed so noise from the outside doesn’t enter. Play relaxing music to drown out any noise from the festivities. It is best to do so in a more central room in the house where there are no exterior walls and minimum windows.
Keep Yourself Calm
Dogs are tuned in to what their owner is feeling. If you are prone to anxiety during the fireworks, make sure to prepare beforehand. Your dog will notice your stress and feel more afraid if you don’t stay calm. So, play some music for yourself as well and do some calming meditation.
Provide a Safe Space
Shield your dog from the commotion as much as you can by setting up a safe space. Pick a room where the noise is less audible. Draw the curtain to lessen the impact of flashing lights. Make this space fun and relaxing for your dog. Include its favorite toys and blankets. Make a little fort for your pup if you think it will help. Hopefully, this space will distract your dog and keep it calm.
You are your dog’s best friend. Your company alone will comfort your dog. Remain calm and talk to your dog in a soothing voice. Give them a lot of pats to ease their fear. Stoke your dog along the length of its form in a slow and firm manner. Make sure that you don’t use an uneven or high voice around them. Reassure your pup calmly and lovingly. Don’t panic in their company.
If you can’t stay with your pet, delegate this task to a trusted friend or family member.
ID Your Dog Beforehand
Dogs tend to run away from home out of fear of fireworks. The highest number of dogs run away on the 4th of July. It is best to be prepared for any outcome. Your dog might run out in a bought of panic. It will be easier for someone to return your pet if it has a collar with your home address around the neck. Or you could invest in microchipping your dog to track them via GPS.
Take a Long Walk Away
Take your dog on a walk before it gets dark out. If you live close to where the ruckus is occurring, walk to a quieter area. You must not walk towards the fireworks event. Make sure you put your dog on a firm leash- in case they get scared and run. Wait out the event duration and return.
If nothing seems to be working, or if you can’t stay by your dog’s side, medication might come in handy. Peta recommends using the natural supplement Melatonin to calm your dog. A dosage of 1 to 4 mg will be required, according to the pet’s body weight.
If you’re looking to sedate your dog, Camelot Animal Hospital recommends Benadryl with a dosage of 25mg/25 pounds weight.
Just as a baby is comforted by a swaddle, Thundershirts apply the same principle to calm down dogs. These coverings apply a comforting pressure on the dog to make them feel secure and restful.
Consult your Vet
Before you give your dog medication, consulting your vet is a no-brainer. If your dog has prior health issues, then it is even more important to seek professional advice.
If none of the above tricks seem to be working out for your fur baby, it is time to speak to your vet. The vet will assess your dog’s state and provide a care plan suited for your pet.
Dogs and fireworks don’t usually mix well. If you are a dog owner, you will need to take measures ahead of time to ease your fur baby’s anxiety. We have listed some methods for you to try to calm your pet. Perhaps the most valuable action is to remain calm in the presence of your pet and pet them soothingly. What worked best for your beloved pet? Let us know in the comments below.