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It is the start of summer and that means that Canada Day and the Fourth of July are just around the corner. For us humans it is a time to celebrate and enjoy the fireworks. However, if you own a dog you know that the loud noises and bangs associated with fireworks are a huge stress for your dog and can cause a lot of anxiety.
Some dog owners might say that Canada Day and the Fourth of July are the worst days for their dogs. So many dogs are frightened and end up running away, and many animal shelters are at their busiest during these times because so many dogs get lost and can’t find their way home. It is natural for dogs to be frightened of loud noises, and running away is a survival instinct.
The sudden loud bangs, booms, and flashes of light and burning smells that are associated with fireworks can be very overwhelming to dogs.
Dogs will display signs of stress and anxiety in many ways such as panting excessively, drooling, shaking, pacing back and forth, hiding, tail tucked in, being destructive, barking excessively, and accidents in the house.
As a dog owner you should take extra steps to keep your dog calm during fireworks, that way the holiday can be less stressful for both you and your dog. Let’s look at some steps you can take:
Make Sure You Are Prepared
On the day of the fireworks, be sure to give your dog plenty of exercise and play time, your dog will be at a calm state. A tired dog will be less anxious.
Provide plenty of food and water early in the day. Once the fireworks start, your dog may be too anxious to eat. Always keep fresh water available because your dog may drink more when anxious.
If you usually walk your dog late in the evening, on the day of the fireworks make sure to walk your dog earlier. This way your dog won’t be outside when the fireworks start, and become startled and try to run away.
Have a safe place set up for your dog, if your dog is crate trained they will feel safer and more secure in their “den”.
If you do leave your dog home alone, make sure to bring them inside (even if they are an outdoor dog). That way they don’t try to escape from the backyard to get away from the noise.
Make sure your dog has a collar and ID tag on, that way if the worst happens and your dog runs away, he can be brought home quickly. You might want to consider microchipping your dog.
Keep Calm and Carry On
The most important thing to remember is to remain calm yourself. If you display any type of fear or anxiety your dog will quickly pick up on this and be more frightened.
Be in control, your dog looks to you for leadership. When the fireworks are going on act normal, and pretend like they are not happening. Act happy and calm that way your dog is less afraid and sees that there is nothing to be worried about.
Never be angry at your dog or punish your dog for showing signs of stress or fear, this will only make things worse for your dog. Showing your dog lots of love and attention is always best.
Offer Your Dog Some Distraction
Keep your dog distracted from the noise by playing a game inside such as tug of war, or fetch.
Give your dog a puzzle treat, a treat dispensing toy, or a toy filled with peanut butter is a good idea. This will keep your dog focused on an activity for a while.
Try drowning out the noise of the fireworks by having the TV on, or having music playing in the background. Keep the windows shut to minimize the noise of fireworks.
Keep the curtains shut, and the lights on to hide any sudden flashes of light.
Leave Your Dog At Home
The best thing to do during the fireworks is to leave your dog at home and stay with him. If you cannot be with your dog then have a friend or relative stay home and keep an eye on him. Your dog will feel more secure and happy being around people he loves and trusts.
Comfort your dog by petting and talking to him. Stay happy and upbeat, this will make your dog feel less anxious.
If your dog feels more secure by hiding somewhere in the house, like under the bed or table etc., then let him do so. It is your dogs way of feeling safe, and dragging them out of a safe spot can increase their anxiety.
After The Fireworks
When you are sure the fireworks are over, reassure your dog and let him walk around and have free run of the house to see how he behaves before letting him go outside.
Check your yard for any debris that may have fallen from the fireworks, and do a clean up before letting your dog out.
Go outside with your dog and keep an eye on him, the fireworks may be over but your dog could still show signs of anxiety and stress.
If you do walk your dog after the fireworks, make sure to keep the leash on and stay with him the whole time.
Final Thoughts On How To Keep A Dog Calm During Fireworks
Fireworks may be exciting to watch for humans, but for our four-legged best friends they are scary and overwhelming. Avoiding the fireworks with your dog is always the best idea, and making sure to stay home with your dog to offer comfort is the best way to keep your dog calm and safe.
Only you know your dog best and the way he reacts to loud noises. Most dogs will display some level of fear when it comes to fireworks, but If you remember to take the above steps you and your furry best friend will have a less stressful time.
Do you have any tips or experience with how to calm your dog during fireworks? Do you have any stories of how your dog reacts to fireworks and other loud noises? I would love to hear from you, please share your comments and suggestions below.