Dogs and fireworks generally are not a good mix. Although they may be enjoyable for humans, fireworks are often very frightening and stressful for our pets. With the fourth of July right around the corner, and the firework festivities that come with it, this holiday can be particularly stressful for our pets. You may be wondering why is it so common for dogs to be scared of fireworks? Dogs experience the world through their senses. Sudden, loud noises caused by fireworks can be very frightening for dogs. The bright flashes and even the smell of smoke following the fireworks can be unpleasant for dogs senses. Luckily, here are a few things you can do to make your dog feel more calm and comfortable when there are fireworks nearby.
Keep Dogs Inside & Away From Fireworks
If your family is planning to take part in the fourth of July festivities, it might be best to leave your pet at home. Bringing your pet along to a family picnic or firework show will be more stressful than enjoyable. Having them partake in the festivities may sound nice, but leaving your dog indoors will help them feel safer and not as scared. Being indoors will insulate the loud noises caused by fireworks.
Make a Comfort Area for Your Dog
Try creating a safe haven for your pet. When dogs are scared they will seek comfort in a safe place. Find a place in your home where the majority of outside sound cannot be heard, preferably without windows. If your pet is crate-trained, use their crate and pack it with their comfiest blanket and toys. Keep your dog occupied with tasty treats, try something that will last them a while such as a bone or frozen treats. Try leaving the fan, radio, or TV on to drown out some of the sounds and make your dog less scared.
During the Day, Take a Walk!
Head out for plenty of exercise earlier in the day - ideally before the sunsets to avoid hearing any sounds. Fireworks are less likely to go off in the daytime, so take the time to get your pet plenty of exercise and tire them out. Before you head out ensure your pet’s collar or harness is properly fitted, to ensure they cannot bolt away should they hear any sounds.
Make Sure Your Dog Has ID
If your dog is likely to bolt at the sound of anything frightening, it is important to take additional safety measures. A dog’s first instinct might be to run, and they might not be able to find their way back home. Make sure your dogs collar tags are up-to-date with your phone number in case they take off. Additionally, ensure your dog is microchipped or has a GPS device. Some dog collars have GPS abilities, or you can create your own using a GPS device like a Tile or Apple Airtags. If your pet is prone to bolting this will help with locating your pet should they run off due to fireworks.
Train Them Out of Fear
Try acclimating your dog to the sound of fireworks to familiarize them and reduce stress. Exposure therapy can include playing sounds of fireworks softly so your pet gets used to hearing them. Ensure the video volume is low - your dog should not be displaying signs of stress like panting, howling, or shaking. Reward your dog with treats or toys when they hear the sounds to create a positive association. Open Farms dog treats are a great healthy treat to help train your pet. They are packed with nutrients and are a healthy treat to help prepare and reward your dog the next time they hear fireworks.