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    How to Care for Your Dog During Fireworks

    • 4 min read

    The Fourth of July is fast approaching, and for many Americans, that means celebrations, lights, and patriotism. For dogs, fireworks aren’t so exciting. In fact, they can be downright scary!

    Chopper is one of many dogs who is scared of fireworks. The loud sounds and the bright, crackling lights can be very overstimulating to dogs, whose sensitive ears pick up sounds way better than us humans. 

    If you’re wondering what you need to know to keep your dog calm during fireworks, we’ve come up with tips on how to prepare your dog for this year’s celebrations. 

    Why Are Dogs Afraid of Fireworks?

    Your dog might be afraid of fireworks for a number of reasons. Knowing which of the reasons is causing the anxiety can help you troubleshoot how best to keep your dog calm. Let’s look at some of the most common reasons why your dog is feeling scared.

    Fireworks are:

    1. Loud- The number one reason fireworks are so upsetting to dogs is due to the explosions hurting their sensitive ears.
    2. Bright and moving- As if the thunderous booms weren’t bad enough, some dogs become even more anxious when they see the lights flickering and moving in the sky.
    3. Unexpected- Hearing fireworks from different, unpredictable locations can feel overwhelming, as your doggo won’t know when or where the next sound will appear.
    4. Threatening to dogs- Also worth mentioning is that some dogs perceive fireworks as a threat, which can cause them to become aggressive.
    5. Inescapable- Though your dog will likely try to escape the loud commotions and sounds by retreating indoors, this is often not enough to completely get rid of the sounds.

    How to Keep Your Dog Calm During Fireworks

    Though fireworks are notorious for being loud, this doesn’t mean that your dog has to suffer every year during the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve. With a little preparation, and a whole lot of love and support, your dog can get through the fireworks with significantly less anxiety. 

    Here’s what you need to do to help your dog stay calm:

    Create a Safe Space Indoors

    First and foremost, the best way to keep your dog calm during fireworks is to create a safe indoor space that your dog can retreat to when feeling overwhelmed. Follow these tips to make your home firework-proof:

    • Play white noise-Not only does white noise help tune out the unpredictable sounds, but it also creates predictable background sounds to sooth your dog. Whether it’s a fan, the TV, or a baby machine, white noise can do wonders for calming nerves. You might want to try leaving the white noise on for short intervals the days leading up to the Fourth of July so that your dog is already familiar with the sounds.
    • Reduce outdoor exposure- Close all windows, blinds, curtains, and doors that would otherwise introduce the bright lights and sharp sounds of fireworks to your dog’s safe space. A basement or small inner room will offer your dog the best protection from fireworks. 
    • Surround your dog with familiar belongings-If your dog has a favorite snuggle buddy, be sure to put that toy in your dog’s safe space, too. You can also add in some treats and water. Better yet, if your dog has a safe spot already, consider covering the cozy space with extra blankets to create a sense of safety and comfort.

     

    Make Sure Your Dog Gets Exercise

    Another useful tip for getting your dog to feel calmer during fireworks is by ensuring that your doggo gets a good day of exercise before the celebrations. This way, your dog will have less energy for feeling anxious and restless when the fireworks do go off. Just remember to give your dog plenty of water while outside, and don’t overdo your dog’s playtime fun.

    Prepare for Escapes

    If your dog is an escape artist, then fireworks might make your pet even more likely to run away during loud sounds. In general, it’s a good idea to have your dog chipped or in an up-to-date collar on the off chance that he becomes lost. You should also check all gates and fences for any holes or weak spots that your dog could escape through and mend them if needed.

    If You Want to Go Out And Celebrate, Leave Your Dog at Home

    Just because your dog is sensitive to fireworks doesn’t mean you can’t attend a fireworks celebration. If you decide to go out for the Fourth of July, don’t bring your dog. Instead, try out some of the tips for creating a safe space for your dog before heading out so that your dog doesn’t become alarmed or frightened by any outdoor explosives while you’re out. 

    Distract Your Dog

    Lastly, your dog might benefit from having a new, engaging toy to distract him from the fireworks. The right toy can keep your dog focused on anxiety-reducing playtime fun long enough to get through one of the most boisterous holidays. 

    *Remember to always supervise your dog while she plays with toys.

    Calming Toys for Dogs

    If you’re hoping to keep your dog entertained with a new toy, you may be wondering which toys are best for soothing dogs. When it comes down to it, toys that your dog can lick may offer some relief to anxiety in your furry friend. In fact, some studies have suggested that licking can increase calming endorphins in dogs. 

    Here at Chopper and Otis, we carry a few licking mats that may help your dog feel calmer during fireworks:

    Jigsaw Enrichment Licking Mat

    Jigsaw Licking Mat by Sodapup

    SodaPup’s jigsaw licking mat is great for dogs who love to lick at treats. Just spread your doggo’s favorite treats across the textured mat, and your dog will feel calm as he tries to get all of the goodies off it! This mat also helps your dog slowly digest treats while also promoting healthy teeth, breath, and gums. 

     

    For smaller dogs, try the Honeycomb Enrichment Licking Mat.

    Final Notes

    Though the Fourth of July is just one day of the year, it can be very triggering for dogs, whose sensitive ears and eyes can easily feel overwhelmed by fireworks. Always remember to stay calm if your dog experiences anxiety. 

    While these tips and tricks may help most dogs, some dogs might need additional support to get through the fireworks. In which case, you should talk with your dog’s veterinarian to create the best plan for your furry friend.

    Until next time--