Calming Tips for Dogs During Fireworks
Summer is a real busy time for us pet sitters, especially the 4th of July as many families take their vacation during that time. Here in the United States, it’s the celebration of Independence Day and many people love to go away during the Holiday.
Fireworks have always been an important part of the tradition and it’s something that affects many dogs. The loud booming sounds can be very alarming and unsettling causing them to hide or even worse try to escape.
According to Rover.com, A 2013 study by the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences found fireworks were the most common trigger for fearful behavior in dogs. Responses included:
- Seeking comfort
Where I live fireworks can run one to two days prior to the 4th and they always display them between 8:30 pm and 9 pm. They usually run for about 30 minutes. This is important to note, as I know what time I need to be home with the dogs. I definitely do not want to be outside during these times.
Taking your dog to a firework celebration is a personal choice. I have never taken Ginger or any guest dog to one, it is extremely loud and you don’t know how your dog will react. It’s dark and very crowded and to me it’s just not worth the aggravation that it can cause if something was to happen.
Luckily, I don’t live near the park but I can see the flashing lights and hear the booms. While the display is on, I stay home and will play soft music to try to drown out the noise, although some pups can still hear the fireworks due to their sensitive hearing it will muffle the volume and intensity.
If your dog can hear the booms, console them and just stay calm. They may run to you when they are scared and that’s okay! My dog Charley would always try to snuggle in between me and the sofa. That was his safe spot and I would lean back a little to provide him with some pressure, that calmed him and that’s where he stayed until the fireworks were over.
Speaking of pressure, there are special shirts and vests that can provide pressure. These were designed to calm dogs during fireworks and thunder storms. These shirts are a drug-free way to calm and soothe anxious pets. The vests have a relaxing, comforting effect on your dog by applying constant, gentle pressure to the core of his body. I believe this works as the pressure I applied on Charley always helped him.
Try giving your dog treats, they may or may not eat them depending on how scared they are. Giving your dog treats can create a positive association with fireworks. There are also dog chews, toys and/or puzzles available, this will hopefully keep them occupied and keep their mind off things.
Remember, never punish your dog. Loud booms produced by fireworks and thunder storms are really scary for them and it’s only natural that they may over react. Stay calm and be there for them so that they can get through it.
If you know that your dog goes into full panic attack you can always talk to your vet for suggestions as to how you can help them overcome their fear. Some things may include: Pheromones. Available via a diffuser, a spray, or a collar, Adaptil dog-appeasing pheromones can reduce your dog’s anxiety—whether it’s related to fireworks, storms, traveling, or separation. A research study published in the Journal of the British Veterinary Association specifically evaluated its use for storm phobia in dogs, and found it effective. Melatonin. This over-the-counter supplement is widely available. When using melatonin for anxiety, pet parents report differing levels of relief. Dr. Dodman, in his book “The Well-Adjusted Dog”, states that while he’s seen some success stories, melatonin isn’t always effective—”but it never hurts to try.” Talk to your veterinarian about appropriate doses for your dog. Prescription medications. Especially in severe cases, medication can be a lifesaver for a noise-phobic dog. Your veterinarian can guide you through the various choices. (Rover.com)
You know your dog best so use your best judgment. The important thing is to keep your pet safe and happy.