The 4th of July is just around the corner, and you can’t wait to enjoy food and fireworks with your friends and family. But your dog isn’t quite as excited. Many dogs seem to become anxious and frightened any time a firework goes off.
For us humans, fireworks are a fun part of the holiday. But for our dogs, they’re confusing and terrifying. Noisy, smelly fireworks can send even the calmest dog into a panic, so how can your pet be expected to cope with a night filled with loud, flashing lights from a fireworks display?
At Kennel Club LAX, we’ve seen all kinds of reactions to fireworks from all sorts of dogs. And we have plenty of pet safety tips to help keep them calm when firework anxiety threatens to upset them. Here are 8 ways you can keep your dogs safe and calm on the 4th of July.
1. Keep Them Inside
Dogs are frightened by the sound and smell of fireworks, so keeping them inside can limit their exposure to these two things. Of course, your dog’s keen sense of hearing means he’ll still hear some of the noise of the fireworks, but if he’s safely indoors, he’ll be less likely to bolt from your property out of fear.
Even if your dog is a relatively calm animal, don’t expect them to sit calmly through a fireworks display. The combination of loud noises and strange faces at a public display could be enough to send your dog running for safety, so leave your pet at home if you plan on going out to watch the fireworks.
2. Take Your Dog For a Walk Before Fireworks
Burning off extra energy can help your dog stay calm, and a walk is a perfect opportunity to do just that. Ensure you go out before the fireworks start going off so your dog won’t get spooked.
It’s a good idea to make sure that your pet’s ID tags are up to date before the 4th. If your dog does happen to get frightened and run away during your walk, current ID information could help you be reunited with your pet more quickly.
3. Offer Comfort to Your Dog
Maybe you aren’t even planning on watching fireworks, but you can still hear them from inside your home. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about neighbors setting off fireworks all night long, but there are some ways you can mitigate the stress on your dog.
Try to keep your tone calm and neutral. Dogs can detect when your voice goes up in pitch, and to them, a higher pitch indicates that you are worried or nervous. Keep your voice calm and soothing, and offer up their favorite treat while you cuddle inside your home.
4. Try to Desensitize Your Pet
If you’re willing to spend some time and energy, you might be able to desensitize your pet to the experience of fireworks successfully. Simply playing a video of fireworks so that your pet can get used to the sound may be all it takes to help them take the edge off their anxiety when the actual fireworks start to go off.
You may find that pairing the sound with a favorite treat makes your pet associate the sound of fireworks with something pleasant. Of course, this isn’t the same thing as exposing your pet to actual fireworks, but it could help prepare them for the real thing.
5. Talk to Your Vet
Your vet can be very helpful when it comes to dealing with anxiety in your dog. There may be a medication that your vet can recommend or prescribe to help keep your pet calm during the 4th of July.
Your vet may recommend a more homeopathic treatment like CBD chews for dogs or aromatherapy. Check with your vet to see what they recommend.
6. Give Your Dog a Secure Space
Let your dog hide away in his crate. Don’t try and force him to come out while the fireworks are going off. It might help to give your pet a chew toy filled with something yummy to keep them preoccupied, too.
Offer reassurance, but understand if your dog feels safer in the crate. Don’t try to force your dog to be playful and friendly when feeling anxious and fearful, but do reassure your pet that it will be okay.
7. Offer a Calming Massage
You’ve drawn the curtains, put on some gently distracting background noise, and offered your pet’s favorite snack, but they’re still nervous from all the bangs and whizzes coming from outside. Now’s the perfect time to give your pet a calming massage to ease their worries.
Like humans, dogs enjoy being massaged and soothed. Use gentle motions and massage your dog’s neck, shoulders, and the tips of the ears (if your dog doesn’t mind you touching its ears) to help ease your pet’s stress.
8. Leave Your Pet At Home If You’re Traveling
If you’re traveling for the 4th of July, consider leaving your pet at home with a pet sitter or a trusted relative. The stress of traveling is terrible enough, but being in a strange environment while fireworks are going off can be pretty traumatic for your pet.
You may want to consider boarding your pet if leaving them at home isn’t an option. Boarding can be a better option, especially if your pet doesn’t like to travel.
Let Us Make Your Pet Feel At Home
Summertime is supposed to be fun for the entire family, but sometimes traveling isn’t always fun for your dog. If you need to travel or be away from home this summer, why not consider bringing your dog to stay with us? We’d love to be your pet’s ‘home away from home,’ whether it’s just for a few hours or a few days.
We can offer much more than just a place for your dog to stay when you can’t be with him. We can provide the friendly touch, companionship, and quality of care that every pet deserves.
Why not book a tour of our facility so you can meet our highly skilled staff and feel more confident about leaving your dog in our hands? We’d love to help you keep your dog calm and happy all summer long, so contact us today to plan your pet’s stay.