The 4th of July is almost here and for many pet parents, this can be a bitter sweet holiday. Most dogs fear the sound of fireworks, and as they try to find a place to hide and feel at ease, you might be left wondering what you can do to help them feel better.
First, let’s take a minute to understand why dogs fear the sound of fireworks. Dogs have an acute sense of hearing and the loud “thump” of a firework can make dogs perceive them as a threat. As a result, your pup may experience a sense of fear or a sense that he/she needs to protect you and the home. Signs of this includes, hiding under beds or closets, barking at the fireworks, panting or looking restless. Keep in mind that not all dogs will fear fireworks or act in an anxious way.
Here are some tips on how to keep your dog calm from the firework scaries:
Act Normal and Avoid The “Baby Voice”
For some of us this might be hard since most of us immediately retrieve to our “baby voice” when we see our dog mildly uncomfortable. Remember that your pup can sense your emotions and will mirror them any chance they get. This means that if you’re fearful or anxious, chances are your pup will be too.
Instead, take deep breaths and calm yourself down before addressing your dog. If you’re in control, so will your dog. Act as you would any other day and speak in a firm but calm voice.
This tactic will help your dog feel at ease just like in any other day
Distract your dog from the fireworks by turning on the TV or putting music on. You can also use this time to play with your dog especially with a squeaky toy. If your pup is on the really anxious side, play relaxing music for dogs 1 hour before the firework display starts. This will ensure that your dog is calm.
Create a Safe Space
Some dogs prefer to retrieve to a safe space when they are scared. Dogs will usually rest under the bed, hide in the closet or any confined spot where they feel safe. Let them do this. Do not try to get your dog to face his/her fears or pull them out of their safe place. This will only agitate them more and create more anxiety.
Create a comfortable space for them. For instance, place soft pillows and a blanket with a toy on their favorite spot. It can be a closet, under the bed, their crate or bed. Make sure your dog has water handy since anxious dogs tend to get more thirsty. A pro tip is to include a clothing item that smells like you. It’s a great way to get your dog to feel that extra familiar comfort.
Reward Calm Behavior
As soon as you notice your dog with a cool and calm demeanor, make sure to reward him. This will enforce this behavior during stressful times. You can either make your own dog treats or simply administer their favorite chewable. Chewable treats are great because they help your dog release stress. Remember to use words of affirmation like “good boy” or “good girl”.
If your pup gets extra anxious, make sure to feed him 1 or 2 hours before the firework display. Some dogs will avoid food and even treats when they are stressed out.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Yep. Just like in humans dogs need plenty of exercise. A good way to ensure your pup will feel better during the firework scaries is to get them to exercise quite a bit before the “stressful” event. Go for a long walk or play with your dog. Those zumies will pay off later!
Invest in a Calm Aid
If you’ve tried everything, and nothing has worked to keep your dog calm, you may need to invest in a calm aid or anti-anxiety medication. Calm aids include oral solutions, topical solutions or even a thundershirt which can make a dog feel safe through the use of gentle pressure.
Check out the top rated calm aids which include chewables, natural options, calming devices and much more!
Finding the right calm aid for your dog is essential to helping him feel better during the 4th of July fireworks or any other stressful event. Chances are that if your dog fears fireworks, he will also be uneasy when there is thunder or any loud noises. These calm aids can help add another layer of comfort.
The bottom line is that your dog doesn’t have to suffer through the 4th of July fireworks. These techniques are designed to help your pup feel better and are guaranteed to work.
What other calming techniques have you used? We’d love to know!
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