Dogs Scared of Fireworks: How to Help Your Dog
July brings us Canada Day, July 4th in the U.S. and other celebrations. That normally means picnics, community gatherings, and blazing fireworks displays. Until 2020 when everything changed. No large events and no parties. So many people will be creating their own fireworks shows in their backyard.
This is especially challenging for dogs. The loud sounds and flashing lights of fireworks can be terrifying.
In the video here, you'll see that Animal League, a rescue organization in Boston, has seen an increase of people calling to ask how they can help their dogs deal with their fear of fireworks. The shelter has seen a huge increase in these types of calls this year as more illegal fireworks are being used at random times, as opposed to planned events.
Though thunderstorms are scary, dogs do feel the change in barometric pressure, so they know a storm is on its way. But fireworks seem to come out of nowhere to blast the dog’s sensitive ears.
How can you prepare your dog for the coming fireworks?
When you first hear fireworks or know there will be an evening of fireworks, put your dog in a room with the curtains closed. Play some music or the television to help mask the sounds. Make sure all the windows and doors are tightly closed.
You might want to put an especially nervous dog in his kennel.
Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise the day you expect fireworks. Go for a long walk or play some frisbee at the park.
Plan to stay home with your dog if you know he suffers from anxiety when there are fireworks nearby. If that’s not possible, at least leave an article of clothing that smells like you. Consider having a camera on your dog so you can see if he’s becoming overly anxious. You can return home if necessary.
Have a new toy ready such as the kind filled with peanut butter. Then can help distract him from the noise and keep him occupied.
Always make sure your dog has a collar with an updated tag. If he ever gets spooked by anything and manages to get away from you, the person who finds him will be able to contact you. A microchip from the vet is also a good idea.
Some people suggest things such a lavender scent to calm your dog. But you’ll need to find the scent in a dog safe essential oil or a candle. Lavender plants are actually toxin for dogs so never keep one within your dog’s reach.
If nothing else works talk to your dog’s vet about medication that can help calm your dog. Keep it ready for when thunderstorms or holidays involving fireworks arrive.