Holidays when people shoot fireworks can be a very stressful time for dogs and dog owners. Fireworks are confusing and scary for dogs. Learning how to keep your dog calm during fireworks will be beneficial for you and your pet. He can be more relaxed, and you won't have to worry so much about your furry family member.
Recent studies found that fear of noises in dogs maybe related to muscoloskeletal pain. While you can simply avoid fireworks in some cases, in other situations, like during certain holidays, it may be impossible to avoid the sights and sounds of celebratory fireworks.
Dogs show signs of fear by pacing restlessly and will likely want to stay close to their owners. They could also shake or tremble, begin to pant heavily or salivate. Some dogs may demonstrate destructive behaviors like scratching, gnawing or chewing on furniture or belongings. Some show their nervousness by licking. Other dogs could lose control of their bladder or bowel movements.
You know your dog better than anyone, so you probably already know which behaviors he exhibits when he's nervous, anxious or scared. So, here are some helpful tips to help you learn how to keep your dog calm during fireworks.
How To Keep Your Dog Calm During Fireworks
While this might seem obvious, I feel like it needs to be said. While you may enjoy going out to watch fireworks, your dog surely more anxious and scared if you're not home. When the loud noises start, your dog will have you to help ease his fear.
2. Lots of Exercise
It's best to prepare for fireworks in advance. If you know about a celebration happening near your home, you should try to tire your dog out before the festivities begin. Take him for a long walk, play a few games of fetch, take your pup swimming or do any activity that your dog really enjoys.
Dispensing his energy will make him tired. He may be so tired that he'll sleep through some or all of the fireworks show. If he's tired he will have less energy to pace around or exhibit destructive behavior.
3. Stay Calm
It's been shown in studies that our dogs can read their owner's emotions. If you notice that your pooch is getting anxious during fireworks, try to act normal to show him that there's no reason to be scared. Be playful and cheerful around your furry friend, and you may just get him to calm down.
Your dog will take cues from your behavior. If you're nervous and anxious about thunderstorms or loud noises, your dog is more apt to have the same feelings. It's difficult to stay calm when you know that your dog is having a hard time, but you need to understand that your dog will respond to your emotions.
To put it simply, the more calm that you are, the more calm that your dog will be. If you get worked up about the noise, your dog's emotions will elevate as well.
4. Use Background Noise
Drowning out some of the noise of fireworks with more soothing background noises may help to keep your dog calm. Dogs enjoy certain types of music, so play some dog friendly sounds from YouTube or on your television. White noise probably works best to reduce anxiety, but classical music have also been proven to calm dogs down.
You can also try to experiment with other types of ambient sounds. Run a box fan or try using a noise machine to help soothe your pup. Make sure that your windows and curtains are closed to block out as much of the noise from outdoors as you can.
Before the fireworks start, make some homemade treats or a meal to give your pup periodically. If your dog is willing, you should play a game with him to help distract him. Keep some toys nearby and try to engage him.
Give your dog a bone, chew, stuffed KONG toy, etc… Whatever your dog likes, give it to him. Some dogs are easily distracted with food, while others enjoy a good game of fetch. Choose something that is most likely to distract your pet, and use it to your advantage.
6. Try Commercial Products
Consider discussing anti-anxiety medications for your dog with a veterinarian. Be sure, however, to only use the recommended dose. If you don't like to sedate your dog, you can use a calming spray, anxiety vest or pheromone plug-in to help your dog relax.
7. Provide A Safe Place
I saved the most important tip for learning how to keep your dog calm during fireworks for last. This one is a MUST!
When dogs are scared, they will often look for a safe place where they can retreat and hide. During this time, they prefer small, enclosed areas. Your dog may try to climb into a bathtub, squeeze underneath your bed or curl up in the corner of your closet.
If your dog has a crate, make sue he has access to it when he's scared. In addition to this, you may even want to cover the crate with a blanket to make your dog even more comfortable.
It's not unusual for a dog to be scared of fireworks. While this problem can’t always be treated or solved, you can at least make your pet as comfortable as possible during fireworks, thunder or other scary experiences. Stay with your dog, let him hide if he wants to and be sure to give him a hug if you find that it helps.