The fourth of July is a traditional, fun summer celebration and the fireworks at night are part of it. Many dogs have a terrible time with the unexpected and unpredictable loud noises that accompany the fireworks celebrations. The noise, and to some extent, the bright lights trigger their flight or fight response. This makes them feel trapped and more dogs run away and are lost during this holiday than any other time of year.
There are several effective things you can do to help your dog with his anxiety and stress.The most important thing to make sure he is inside, so no matter what happens he can’t run away. When dogs run to escape, they run panicked and may end up a very long distance away, and not remember how they got there. Not to mention, the great possibility of getting hurt on the way.
Let the dog have access to his "safe" place.This may be his crate, if he is crate trained. Dogs will want to be in a small space, like a closet or the bathroom, if they feel the need to hide. Make room in the space for a soft bed, some of his favorite things and something that smells like you, a t-shirt ready for the wash, maybe. All things that will make him feel comfortable and secure.
Turn on some relaxing music, both for the relaxing part and it will help mute the loud noises from the fireworks.
This is not really a time to feed the dog as it is likely it won’t stay down. However, a long-lasting chew or antler as a distraction may be a good idea. Check out our own antlers at northwoodsanimaltreats.com. They come in an XL and an XXL.
Some dogs have great success with a compression wrap like a thunder shirt. Some dogs don’t seem to respond to this therapy in any big way. If you are going to try it, don’t have the night of the fireworks the first time you have put it on the dog. Practice putting it on and have good things happen when it is on, treats, walks, playing, and more, should be equated to the wrap.
There are many calming natural supplements on the market now, as well as tranquilizers from your vet. Like the compression wrap, the night of the fireworks should not the first time you have dosed your dog with either a pharmaceutical or something natural. Practice to see how much you need and how they effect your dog before the stress is presented.
And, the day following the fireworks, you can start to desensitize your dog to the loud unexpected noises. By next year, he could be watching them with you!