It happens every Fourth of July – while you’re out enjoying a day of barbecued meats, summer heat and fireworks, your dog is at home, cowering in fear as if a bomb had just dropped.
Fireworks are an awesome sight to us humans, but to dogs, the unpredictable booming noises can be perceived as a threat. And while fireworks anxiety is common among dogs, that doesn’t mean we have to let our pups suffer through it every year.
Helping your dog through their anxiety can take a little bit of prep work, so start early if you can, and read on for some tips to keep your pup calm this holiday season.
Signs Your Dog Has Fireworks Anxiety
Dogs show us they are stressed in several different ways, some more obvious than others. Keep an eye out for these behaviors when fireworks start going off:
- Tail between their legs
- Drinking more than usual
If you notice that fireworks are causing your pup some stress, check out these tips to help make their experience a little more comfortable.
How to Help Your Dog Through Fireworks Season
There are several things you can do for your dog, both in the days leading up to the Fourth of July, and in the moment.
If you have a few days to plan ahead, look into what tools you can use to give your dog some peace of mind come the big day. For some dogs, swaddling them in an anxiety vest can feel calming.
For others, a trip to the vet might be in order to discuss anti-anxiety medications. While you’re there, you might also talk to your vet about microchipping. Microchipping your pet is a good idea anyway, but is especially important around the Fourth of July, when pets have been known to run away from their homes to escape the sounds of fireworks.
You might also find success training your dog to remain calm by exposing them to recorded sounds of fireworks early on. Be sure not to stress your dog during this process. Play recordings at a low volume and give them treats throughout. Consult a trainer if you feel overwhelmed or don’t know where to begin.
When the day comes where you know there will be a lot of fireworks going off at once, it is a good idea to walk your dog before you think the fireworks will begin. Doing so will help them release energy and keep their brain calm during stressful times. At home, close your curtains and do what you can to block the sounds of the fireworks for your pet. A white noise machine, the sound of the TV or some music playing in the background are all good options.
Overall, the best thing you can do for your dog when they are feeling anxious is to remain calm yourself. Stroking your dog’s back and talking to them in a calm voice will let them know that you are not afraid of the loud noises that are occurring, and they don’t need to be either. On the flip side, panicking when your dog is stressed can indicate to your dog that she has good reason to be scared. Being prepared is a great way to ensure that you feel calm and ready to tackle your dog’s anxiety when the time comes.