Some dogs are afraid of fireworks (and their loud noises) and suffer acute anxiety during shows, and some may even attempt to flee the noise. From the experts at BringFido, here’s how to calm your dog down and keep him or her safe during fireworks shows.
Celebrating the 4th of July can be a joyous occasion—but as fun as they are for American humans, 4th of July fireworks can be alarming, terrifying, and even dangerous for American pooches (and some cats, too).
The day after Independence Day, July 5, is often the busiest day of the year for many animal shelters, as they work to safely catch, identify, and return local pets spooked by annual fireworks displays. To help make the holiday a safe, happy one for all, pet travel and lifestyle resource BringFido shared tips for keeping pets—particularly dogs—calm and safe during the festivities, whether you’re planning to go to a large fireworks show and leave your pup at home or you’re celebrating in your backyard.
1. Bring your dog inside for the whole day and night leading up to the 4th, or even a few days before, if you know people in your area plan to celebrate early. Your dog may not be a flight-risk, but if he or she is spooked by the fireworks, it could be all too easy for him or her to escape your yard and attempt to run away.
2. If you know your pet is afraid of loud noises, do not bring him or her to a fireworks show. Your pets will not suddenly overcome their fear, and the last thing you should do is introduce them to a situation where they will be stressed and panicked.
3. Be sure your pet is wearing a well-fitting collar with up-to-date ID tags. Should worse come to worst, you want to be able to easily identify Fido (or let whoever finds him find you) if he does manage to get out of the house.
4. Tire your dog out. Preempt any jitters by taking her on a long walk, run, or fetch session before the fireworks are set to start. If you’re lucky, she’ll sleep through the show or be too tired to pay attention to the sudden noise.
5. Surround your dog with comforting things, like a white noise machine (to muffle noises), a Thundershirt (proven to comfort anxious dogs), or a distracting treat, like a Kong stuffed with peanut butter or a new bone. If your dog is distracted and happy, she may not even notice the fireworks outside.
If your dog suffers from severe anxiety or presents extremely erratic behavior during fireworks or other surprising events, consider talking to your vet about options for more long-term treatment or working on behavior modification techniques in advance of next year’s show.