Though holidays can be an exciting time for humans, they can be extra stressful times for our furry friends. Our pets can get thrown off for many reasons — new people, changes in schedule, and extra traveling, just to name a few.
However, for some dogs, holidays such as New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July can prove to be the most difficult to handle. Fireworks, with their extremely loud bangs and bright flashes, can send even the most even-keeled dog off balance, with some dogs suffering from extreme anxiety during these days.
It’s easy to make the decision not to bring your anxious dog to a professional fireworks display, but even when you leave your pet at home, they can’t always escape the sounds of fireworks being set off in the neighborhood. All but sixteen states in the USA allow most types of fireworks to be purchased and used at home, which means that even if you forgo big public firework displays, your pet may still be exposed to professional-grade explosions.
Since there may not be a reliable escape for your pet, it is important you find help for your dog. In this article, we’ll give you some tips and tricks that you can use to help ease the anxiety of your furry friend.
What Can I Do To Help My Dog Deal With Fireworks?
There are things that you can do to help your dog with their firework anxiety. These tips will give you ideas about how you can best help your dog in the moment, and what you can do if you have time to dedicate to training before the holiday occurs.
If you need to help your dog with little notice, consider these tips:
Keep Your Dog Inside
It is important to make sure that your dog does not have any unnecessary exposure to fireworks, especially if they are feeling anxious. By keeping your dog inside, you are sheltering them from the fireworks from neighboring houses, as well as those getting set off farther away.
Additionally, if your dog is inside with you, you will better be able to gauge their reactions and anxiety levels and provide intervention, if necessary.
Make a Safe Spot
Set up a place in your house where your dog will feel safe being. Ideally, this may be in a spot that is also far away from windows and doors and will muffle the sounds from the fireworks.
This space should have familiar toys and objects for your pet, as well as their crate if that’s a place where they feel comfortable. You may want to introduce new, engaging toys as well, in order to have your pup occupied with something other than the fireworks as they are going off.
Disguise the Explosions
While the fireworks are going off, turn on some white noise in your house that will help mask the sudden loud explosions. You can use a sound machine, the TV, or a fan – anything that will camouflage the sound of the fireworks. You can add this to your dog’s safe spot, as well.
Note that some sounds may break through the noise barrier, and your pup may be able to feel the vibrations of the more powerful fireworks. Even so, the added “cushion” of white noise helps them forget about the disturbance more quickly and catch them less often.
Exercise Your Pooch Earlier in the Day
Giving your dog a safe and healthy way to get rid of their excess energy can be very beneficial for your pet before the fireworks begin. Planning a day full of activity can leave you with a tired and satisfied pet, which will make them less likely to react to stressful triggers. Just make sure to get the exercise in early, so your pet is safely inside before the fireworks begin.
If you have a few weeks or months before the next round of fireworks, here are some additional tips for you:
Desensitize Your Dog to Firework Sounds
If you know that your dog has an issue with fireworks, you can work to help desensitize them to the explosive noises. You can start by softly playing fireworks sounds and rewarding your pet with a small treat.
Over time, you can gradually increase the volume of the sound until you can play the noises at a loud volume without any visible anxiety from your dog. Of course, it is important to ensure that your pet isn’t feeling any stress from these training sessions. They should be calm, not showing any signs of anxiety like panting, pacing, or trying to hide. You should also take care to never play sounds too loudly, as this may damage your pet’s hearing and cause pain.
Try a Dog Anxiety Vest
If your dog feels anxiety at loud sounds, it may be worth it to invest in an anxiety vest for your dog. These vests help put light pressure on your dog’s torso, which should provide them some relief from their anxious feelings.
If you think this may be a good fit for your dog, you will want to let your dog have experiences with the vest before they will need it for the fireworks, so they can be calm and relaxed about using this strategy.
Talk to Your Vet
If you have tried other strategies and are still concerned about your dog’s anxiety levels, you can talk with your vet. Your vet may want to prescribe an anxiety medication for your furry friend, which you can use either on a schedule or only in anticipation of highly stressful moments, like travel or holidays with fireworks.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to heavily medicate your pooch, your vet may be able to recommend some over-the-counter calming treats or other alternative treatments.
Hire a Pro Trainer
If you have tried some of these tips and your dog’s anxiety doesn’t seem to improve, you may want to consider hiring a professional dog trainer. A trainer will work with your dog to help desensitize them to fireworks or other fears your pet may have.
Contact Greenlin with Your Pet Training Needs
If your pet is having a difficult time dealing with fireworks or has any training needs, Greenlin Pet Resorts has a team of professional dog trainers waiting to help your family! We also have pet boarding if you want them somewhere safe while you travel during the holidays, and dog daycare if you want them to have a good, energy-draining experience before the fireworks go off.
With five convenient locations in central Pennsylvania, you can easily schedule your complimentary Training Evaluation and tour. During the evaluation, you’ll meet with one of our team members so we can hear about your unique situation. You will also have a chance to ask us any questions you may have, as well as have the opportunity to tour our facilities. We have flexible hours and multiple locations to make meeting with us as easy and convenient as possible.
To schedule your complimentary evaluation today, call us or contact us online. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is looking forward to meeting you and your pet today!