Is your dog scared of fireworks? Try these tips to ease your dog’s fears
I’ll admit it: the first time I heard fireworks, I peed a little.
Okay, so to be honest, I peed more than a little, and I cried – a lot. My parents were concerned because I’m a fun-loving puppy who seemed to enjoy partying, yet here I was ruining their Fourth of July cookout with my fearful outbursts.
This story has a happy ending though. After some trials and errors, I’m no longer a dog scared of fireworks! I’ll bet you’re wondering what changed, am I right? Well, it’s pretty simple. I’m lucky to have very patient parents who took the time to train me to accept and embrace fireworks, instead of be terrified of them.
Did you know that more pets run away on the Fourth of July than any other day throughout the year? Yikes! If you have a dog scared of fireworks, there’s some preventative measures you must take before even trying to ease your dog’s fears. First, is your dog wearing proper identification or has she been microchipped? If the answer is no, make sure to invest in a good dog ID tag. The next thing to do is make sure your pup is secured and unable to get loose – especially if you’re not going to be home with your pet.
Think about it – if you heard loud, booming noises, saw flashes in the sky, and smelled smoke, wouldn’t you try to run away from it?
If you’ve already identified that your dog gets spooked by a fireworks display, but you still want to enjoy your celebration, here are a few things you could try.
1. Find a dogsitter in a quiet environment
If you know that your dog doesn’t like fireworks, look for a friend or family member who live in a quiet area that are willing to dogsit your pup. If no one you know if available, you might want to hire a dogsitter or consider boarding your pet for the night. Remember, the key to this is finding a quiet area. If your dogsitter lives in the heart of the city, right near where the fireworks are being fired, your dog will be even more spooked. Find somewhere safe and quiet for your pet to relax.
2. Get your dog used to the sound slowly
The sounds of fireworks are probably what make your dog the most scared. Train your dogs that fireworks are okay by slowly introducing the sound to them throughout the year. YouTube, the second-largest search engine on the web, is full of firework shows you can play on your computer speakers. Start off with a really low volume so not to frighten your pup, and slowly begin to keep the sounds on for longer amounts of time while also slightly increasing the volume. I think you humans call this method “desensitizing.” I call it “kind trickery.” I say this all the time, but when it comes to training, you should probably include dog treats. We learn well when we eat yummy snacks.
3. Consult with your veterinarian
If finding a dogsitter isn’t an option, and you don’t have time to train your dog with firework sounds, you should probably chat with your veterinarian. She’ll likely give you two options. First, she can probably subscribe a mild sedative to keep your furry friend calm while the fireworks are going off. If you take this route, make sure to stay close to your dog with a positive, calm attitude. Your dog can still feel your vibe, and you don’t want to radiate any nervous energy. I’m not a huge fan of the sedation route. I’d rather my dog friends be trained not to fear, versus being numbed to fear, but if you’re in a pinch, sometimes it’s your only option.
The second option your veterinarian might share with you, if you’d rather not sedate your pet, is to skip the fireworks this year. Some dogs grow out of this fear and may be better in the future. Some might need more “desensitizing” practice. Either way, you’re pup will enjoy spending a quiet night home with you.
Do you have a dog scared of fireworks? What have you done to ease her fear? Let us know in the comments section below!
Side note: Do you run a business in the pet industry? Would you like to drive more traffic and sales to your site through a search-optimized pet blog? Get in touch with my office-mates at Lantern Content Marketing!