For many dogs, fireworks are no cause for celebration. The loud noise and vibrations can be so intensely terrifying that with every 4th of July, animal shelters are inundated with lost pets who have dug, chewed, and clawed their way out of their homes and yards to run for cover. Other dogs remain inside but injure themselves trying to scratch and burrow their way into closets, through screen doors, and under furniture to hide. If your dog is bothered by fireworks, take care to ensure her sanity and yours with the following safety tips.
Plan in advance. If you already know your pet is afraid of fireworks and there will be fireworks in your neighborhood, do you best to spare her the anxiety by arranging for her to stay with a friend or familiar boarding facility in a quieter location.
Inspect tags, collar and microchip. Ensure your dog’s ID tags and microchip info are up-to-date. Check your dog’s collar for wear, tear and proper fit.
NEVER take your dog with you to a fireworks display. You may think she’ll feel safer with you, but it will only bring her closer to the fear-inducing stimulus.
Provide a safe, comforting environment. If your dog will stay home, keep her indoors. Close the windows, shades and curtains. If she’s accustomed to being crated, crate her with items to help soothe and distract her, or keep her in her favorite bedroom. Fill a Kong or other durable toy with plenty of treats and surround her with comfort items such as her favorite blanket or clothing with your scent on it. Turn on the television or play soothing music to help drown out the noise. Double check that all windows, doors and gates are securely shut.
Try natural calming remedies. There are numerous natural ways to help calm a nervous dog, from homeopathic drops like Bach’s Rescue Remedy; anti-anxiety herbal chews; calming pheromone air diffusers and sprays; and body wraps such as the Thundershirt and The Anxiety Wrap.
For extreme cases, consult your vet in advance about prescription anti-anxiety medication. Be sure to give whatever remedy you’re using at least an hour before fireworks are expected to start so they have time to take effect. It’s much harder to calm a pet that is already in melt-down mode, so early preparation can help both your pup and you have a safe, happy holiday.
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