Summer is here, and with it comes many celebrations. But, wherever there are celebrations, there are usually loud noises that can frighten our pets, such as fireworks. July Fourth is one upcoming special occasion that many of us like to celebrate with firecrackers and other explosive things. However, suppose you have an anxious dog scared of bangs, booms and pows. In that case, it might not feel like a celebration for you and your fur family.
So, as we approach fireworks season, how can we ease our pet’s anxiety and fear of these intense sounds? Here are our top five pet and fireworks tips for keeping your dog safe and calm this summer.
1. Keep Your Pets Indoors and Occupied
While it may seem obvious to keep your pet indoors during fireworks, many dogs will still get frightened hearing them from inside the home. Try to keep them occupied during the display by playing with them or distracting them with their favorite toy or treat. For dogs or cats with mild anxiety, this may be enough to divert their attention away from the fireworks and onto something else.
2. Try to Mask the Sound
Distraction won’t work for all dogs. Dealing with dogs and fireworks can be more difficult if their fear is severe. Some dogs will get so scared they’ll run and hide under a bed or in a corner. Leaving your dog to whimper all evening is not an acceptable way to deal with the problem. To ease their anxiety, you can try to mask the sound of the fireworks with calming music or white noise.
3. Create a ‘Safe Space’ for Your Pet
One way to comfort pets scared of fireworks is to create a ‘safe space’ for them. This could be a crate with their bed and favorite toy inside and thick blankets covering the top and sides to muffle the noise and reduce the light. Spaces that are dark and enclosed prove very comforting to both cats and dogs. Combining this with the above tip can be an effective way to deal with pets and fireworks.
4. Actively Comfort Them
If possible, don’t leave your dog alone during fireworks, as this will just heighten their anxiety. Dogs need the comfort and reassurance of their owners, and actively petting them and sitting with them can be one of the best ways to calm them down.
On July Fourth in 2018, 200 volunteers helped calm the dogs and cats at two HSUS shelters in Phoenix. Volunteers read to them, played music, sat with them, and petted them. This had an incredible result on the shelter animals. Many dogs were so relaxed that they fell asleep as the fireworks were going off.
5. Ensure Your Pet has an ID Tag
Despite your best efforts to keep them indoors, sometimes dogs can get so anxious that they manage to escape and run away. If a dog runs off during fireworks, this can be highly distressing for both pet and owner. However, if your pet has an ID tag, there is a much higher chance of reuniting with them. You can also fit a GPS device on their collar or get them microchipped.
If the above pet and fireworks tips do not help ease your furry companion’s anxiety, don’t hesitate to speak with your vet. You can discuss safe medications that may help soothe your pet’s worries during this year’s fireworks season.