Dogs love being a part of special occasions and holidays, whether it’s Canada Day or Independence Day. The patriotic bandana wrapped around their neck, the wagging tail in anticipation of a car ride or walk to see the fireworks – they love it all.
However, for some dogs, the sound of fireworks can be terrifying. In fact, data from RSPCA shows that over 45% of dogs show some form of fear or anxiety during fireworks season.
If your doggo is one of them, don’t despair. There are things you can do to help your furry friend feel calm and safe during fireworks displays. Read on to learn how to calm your dog during fireworks.
How to Calm Your Dog During Fireworks — 7 Tips
1. Keep Your Dog Indoors During Fireworks
If your dog is fearful of fireworks, it’s best to keep them indoors during displays. This will help minimize their exposure to the noise and bright lights. Make sure that they have a safe and comfortable place to hide, such as under a bed or in a crate. You can also provide them with some soothing music or a TV show to watch to distract them from the noise outside.
If keeping your dog indoors isn’t possible or if they become agitated when cooped up, consider using a ThunderShirt or other type of anxiety vest. These vests apply pressure to the dog’s body which has been found to be calming.
2. Create A ‘Safe Haven’ Inside Your Home For Your Dog
If your dog is comfortable in a crate, put them in it inside of a room where the fireworks will be least loud – such as a bathroom or bedroom. Make sure to provide them with some soft blankets to snuggle up in, along with some of their favourite toys and treats. This will help them feel safe and comfortable during the fireworks display.
If your dog isn’t comfortable in a crate, put them in a room where they can’t see or hear the fireworks. Again, make sure to provide them with plenty of soft blankets, toys, and treats.
Remember that it’s important to stay calm yourself during firework displays. Dogs can pick up on our emotions, and if we’re anxious, they’ll be more anxious too. So try to relax and enjoy the show – your dog will appreciate it!
3. Play Some White Noise
There are a few different ways that you can play white noise for your dog during fireworks. The easiest is to download a white noise app to your smartphone or tablet. There are lots of free apps available, and most have a variety of sound options to choose from. Simply play the noise at a low volume and keep the device close to your dog’s ears.
If you don’t have a smartphone or tablet, you can also purchase a white noise machine specifically for dogs. These machines typically come with a variety of animal noises – such as rainforest sounds, thunderstorms, and ocean waves – that can help soothe your dog. They’re also small and portable so you can take them with you wherever you go.
4. Walk Your Dog Before Fireworks Start
If possible, take your dog for a walk before the fireworks start. This will help tire them out and make them more likely to sleep through the noise. It’s also a great opportunity to bond with your dog and give them some extra attention.
If you can’t walk your dog before the fireworks start, try to walk them as soon after the display is over as possible. This will help dissipate any residual anxiety they may be feeling.
Never go for a walk during a fireworks display – this will only make your dog more anxious and possibly put them in danger.
5. Give Your Dog Some Calming Treats
There are a variety of calming treats available for dogs that can help ease their anxiety during stressful situations like fireworks displays. These treats typically contain ingredients like chamomile, L-tryptophan, or CBD oil, which have all been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety.
Calming treats are a great way to help your dog relax during fireworks, but they should only be given as a supplement to other methods – such as providing a safe haven and playing white noise. This is because they typically take around 30 minutes to take effect, so they won’t do much to help if your dog is already panicked.
6. Make Sure Your Dog Is Microchipped
It’s also a good idea to keep your dog on a leash during firework displays – even if they’re microchipped. This will help prevent them from getting lost in the first place.
Microchipping is also a legal requirement in many countries and states, so it’s something you should do anyway.
7. Desensitization Training
If your dog is particularly anxious during fireworks, you may want to consider desensitization training. This involves exposing your dog to the noise of fireworks in a controlled setting – such as through a CD or app – and slowly increasing the volume over time.
The goal of desensitization training is to help your dog become accustomed to the noise of fireworks, so they’re less afraid when they hear it in real life. It’s important to note that this type of training should only be done with the guidance of a qualified behaviourist or trainer.
Now that you know how to calm your dog during fireworks, you can help keep them safe and relaxed during this holiday season. If your dog does show signs of anxiety, be sure to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health conditions.
With a little preparation and patience, you can help make this Independence Day a fun and stress-free experience for everyone, including your furry friend.