While fireworks are often used as a sign of celebration, they can be terrifying for your furry friend. Loud noises can be very scary to dogs and can cause dogs to act out, run away, or hide. Here’s how to keep your dog calm during fireworks:
1. Stay Calm
Being a calm presence for your dog is important when trying to keep your dog calm. it’s also important in learning how to work with your dog’s anxiety. Dogs can read our moods, so putting forth a calm demeanor may be able to help them relax. Let your dog know you are in charge but still remain calm. This will help them trust you and calm down.
2. Avoid the Fireworks
Many people think it’s fine to take their dog to a fireworks display because it’s a fun outdoor activity for humans. But this often makes the event worse. Being scared is one of the reasons dogs run away.
Attending the event can not only stress your dog out even more, but also increases the risk of them getting away from you and running. Staying at home, where your dog feels most safe, is key to keeping your dog calm. That way, if your dog reacts, they’re safe in their house where they can’t run away.
3. Create a Safe Spot
Creating a safe haven for your dog to retreat to during fireworks will help them feel safe and secure. If possible, close windows and curtains in an effort to muffle the noise from the fireworks. You can also try a sound machine to drown out the loud booms. These tips can also help calm your dog during a storm.
Designate a spot in your living room, bedroom, or even a large closet that muffles the noise. Make sure your dog has their favorite toys, a soft blanket if they have a favorite, and access to food and water. If your dog is crate trained, this can also be a safe haven for them. Stay close by to keep an eye on them and offer comfort.
4. Exercise Your Dog Before Dark
A well-exercised dog will be tired out and more relaxed. Making sure your dog is well exercised in the daytime ensures you won’t need to be outside after dark except for maybe a quick bathroom break.
5. Comfort Them
If possible, try staying home with your dog during a fireworks display. Your dog will feel most safe and secure with their humans present. If you can’t be home, try having another person your dog trusts either take your dog in for a few hours or stay at your home with your dog.
Use calming language in a soothing voice to help calm your dog down. If they enjoy pets, you can give your dog a calming massage. Long, firm but gentle strokes down the length of their bodies can also calm dogs down.
6. Have the Proper ID on Your Dog
If the worst happens, and your dog runs away, make sure your dog has the proper identification on their collar and is microchipped. This way, if they are found, it will be easier to identify them. Make sure all the information is current and up-to-date.
7. Reward With Treats
If your dog manages to stay calm, or at least mostly calm, be sure to reward their good behavior with plenty of treats! Rewarding with treats will help them associate fireworks with treats, which may help them not react as much to these loud noises. Treats can also help your dog self-soothe, which can help keep your dog calm during fireworks.
8. Try Medication
If all these other methods fail, it might be time to talk to your vet about anxiety medication. Vets can prescribe medicine that is given before an anxiety-inducing event, such as a fireworks display. These medicines will help calm your pup down and give you some relief as well.
These are just a few tips on how to keep your dog calm during fireworks. Fear of fireworks is one of the common fears and phobias in dogs. Remember to stay calm, soothe your dog, and create a safe space for them. They might never learn to truly enjoy the experience, but these tips might help them tolerate it a little bit easier.