How to Keep Your Dog Calm During Fireworks
Whether it’s the 4th of July, New Year’s Eve, or another special occasion, fireworks are a staple many people use to celebrate. And as wonderful as it can be to see fireworks, many of our animals do not share our enjoyment. Between the loud sounds, bright lights, and smells, fireworks turn happy, calm dogs into howling, shaking, barking, anxious, scared dogs.
But the worst of it is that animal controls and shelters across the nation report seeing a 30-60% increase in lost pets during the 4th of July weekend. So to make sure your dog stays safe during the next fireworks event, here are 12 steps to take to help keep your dog calm.
What to do for your dog before the fireworks start:
Create a safe space in your home for your dog. This should be an area in your home that is the quietest – it could be a closet or the basement. Set up the space so it feels secure and familiar to your dog. Put their bed or crate in there along with toys and other things they love to associate the area with comfort.
Make sure your dog’s tag is up to date and that they’re wearing the tags the night of the fireworks. Sometimes we don’t always have our dogs wear their tags around the house. But it’s VERY important to put your dog’s tags on for the entire day and night there are fireworks – if it’s 4th of July, we recommend having them wear it all weekend.
Consider having your dog microchipped. If they’re already microchipped, verify your contact information is current.
Speak with your vet or visit your local pet store for calming treats and therapeutics for your dog. One of the options people are loving for their pets is dog CBD drops you can easily put into your pet’s food or water. If you’re unsure what to purchase, your vet is always a great resource for suggestions and can help you decide what is best for your dog.
What to do to keep your dog calm on the day of the fireworks:
Take your dog for a walk during the daytime before the fireworks start. A nice long walk will help burn off extra energy and keep your dog calmer since a tired dog is a calm dog. When you go on the walk, make sure you have a secure leash and collar in case someone sets off fireworks early and your nervous dog tries to bolt.
Close all windows and curtains to help muffle the sounds of the fireworks and block out any flashes of light.
Use a white noise machine, fan, radio, or TV to drown out the noise of the fireworks. Ignore the noise yourself and offer to play with your dog, but don’t push if they’re too scared or anxious to play.
Give your dog comfort if they’re open to it – but don’t force it if they want to be left alone. Make sure when offering comfort, you speak and act in a calm, soothing way. If you appear anxious or frantic, it will only heighten your dog’s anxiety or fear.
Provide your dog with fun new toys and dog treats to distract them during the fireworks. Having a new toy to investigate or a treat like Kong Dog Cheese Spray can help your dog stay calm – and yes, the cheese spray may not be the healthiest treat, but a “comfort food” may be just what your scared dog will find soothing on a night of fireworks.
Don’t leave your dog alone when there are fireworks. If you can’t stay home yourself, arrange for someone else to stay with your dog. Being alone when the fireworks start can only increase your dog’s anxiety and fear.
DO NOT leave your dog outside during fireworks! Your dog needs to be inside and away from the noises and lights. The closer they are to the sounds of fireworks, the more likely they are to panic and run away.
What to do for your dog after the fireworks are over:
Consider hiring a trainer to help desensitize your dog to fireworks and other fears if they had an especially hard time with fireworks. It’s never too late to get your dog ready for the next loud celebration.
At Fit & Go Pets, we’re committed to keeping your dog calm and safe all year round.
Though our doggy daycare is closed for the 4th of July, we are open for boarding. So if you have a dog that is afraid of fireworks, you could board them with us as a safe alternative – especially if you can’t be home with your dog or are planning to be out of town.