What Can You Do To Keep Your Dog Calm During Fireworks This 4th of July?
If you own a dog that has a fear of loud noises such as fireworks and thunderstorms, I’m sure you already know how they act during this time of year.
Panting, drooling, pacing, and trying to hide are just a few of the common behaviors exhibited during the 4th’s celebrations.
Believe me, I know what it’s like to own a dog with the fear of loud noises. Our beloved and much missed dog, Pepper, was always fearful of any sudden, loud noise. Why? Well, we never could figure it out. She was always afraid of thunderstorms and fireworks ever since we had gotten her as a pup.
Yes, she was terrified of balloons after she accidentally popped one during our daughter’s birthday party many years ago. She’d go hiding every time she seen a balloon after that incident, although this wasn’t until after she was over a year old already.
Well, our sweet Pepper passed away this past April, and thinking of her, I started wondering about all the other dog owners that have the same problem with their dogs during this time of year and may be looking for advice on how they could keep their dog calm during the fireworks.
I know I always felt bad knowing she was so frightened of the loud booms going on so close to our house. We live within view of a lake and every year our community sets off fireworks over it for the fourth of July celebrations.
She’d shake, pace, and stick to our legs like superglue during thunderstorms and the fourth of July fireworks! Once in awhile though, she’d take refuge in the bathtub, like she was expecting the end of the world was near.
So, what can you do to help your dog get through these frightening times? Is there anything you can do?
Yes, there are a few things I’ve found that help in these situations and thought I’d share them here.
Steps to Keep Your Dog Calm During Fireworks
- Turn a fan, TV, or radio on at a normal volume for “cover” noise
- Stay at home if possible
- Keep dog indoors- keep all pets indoors at the time of fireworks, and of course thunderstorms too. Many dogs and cats become frightened during the sudden loud noises and end up running off during fireworks displays.
- Leave a light on for your dog
- Keep your dog in a crate (as long as it’s crate trained already) or in a separate, small room.
- Provide adequate food and water
- Keep calm yourself- act normal and don’t get stressed out about it. Dogs can pick up on your anxiety and this will increase their own fear.
- Walk your dog well before any fireworks display begins and give yourself enough time to get home.
- Let your dog have a “hiding” space if need be. So, if your dog wants to hide in the tub, then let it be. It never hurt our dog or our tub to let her be in there if she wanted.
- Close windows & curtains to muffle the sound
- Use treats & toys to distract your dog from the noise of the fireworks or thunder
- Don’t baby or coddle your dog-this will just reinforce its fearful behavior- for example: you keep making a fuss, saying “good boy” or saying “its okay” every time it almost claws you to pieces trying to get closer to you….don’t do it. You’re rewarding it for doing this, and it will learn, oh so well, that you must want it to keep doing the behavior.
- Don’t yell at or punish your dog either – a calm, but a firm “no” or better yet “down” will work better than screaming at it when it’s trying to climb you like a tree
- Reward your dog for being calm – remember always reward your dog for behaviors you WANT.
- Try using a Thundershirt. Many people say they do help, although I’ve never tried one yet myself on any of our dogs.
- Use medication as a last resort – if your dog is extremely fearful and is in danger of hurting itself, or takes a very long time to calm down afterwards I’d talk to your vet and see what he or she says about it. I believe there are even natural or herbal remedies that could help.
- And, last, but not least…Do NOT take your dog to the fireworks show! For Heaven’s sake…what ARE you thinking?! Leave them home! Otherwise, you’re just asking for trouble!
I’m hoping this helps you to keep your dog calm during the fireworks this 4th of July and hopefully, it’ll help during those thunderstorms too!
If you have any questions, let me know in the box below! And, if you have any suggestions you’d like to add, I’d be thrilled to hear them…
Let me know what you think!
Hope you and your furball have a happy & safe 4th of July!