Is Your Dog Scared of Fireworks? | Greenville Dog Training

Is Your Dog Scared of Fireworks? | Greenville Dog Training

A Quick Fix to Calm Your Dog During Independence Day Celebrations

 

Celebrate Good Times

Independence Day. An outside midsummer celebration from the good food, to the company of family and friends. It’s usually a great time to be had by all. But the one huge part of this holiday’s festivities can cause an extreme amount of chaos for a lot of people.

Is your dog scared of fireworks? Do they try to run away to escape the sounds or immediately seek shelter? If so, you’re in the right place!

Unfortunately the bright bundles of light and smoke in the sky that we have come to ooh and ahh over, can definitely come at a cost to the dogs who are terrified of them. If you’re a pet owner whose dog is fearful of loud noises, you know what it’s like to deal with them in their state of paranoia.

These tips won’t cure your dog fear in the long term. That’s something that takes months and months of consistency to overcome. But we can lend a helping hand in teaching you how to help them survive during the July 4th celebrations. 

 

Tiring Them Out

Just like with kids, the best way to go about short term solutions with your dog is to tire them out. Both mentally and physically. You’ll want to do activities with them that make them exert a lot of energy. Such as:

Long walks – Maybe carve out an extra 30-60 minutes of your day to really wear them out.

Playing fetch in the backyard – You can always start here, and change pace if your pup gets bored quickly.

Mental stimulation games – This can be something as simple as hide and seek with treats or toys. Inside or outside.

The end goal here is to have your dog trust that you know their environment is safe. That they are capable of laying down inside during all of the commotion that is going on outside. Tiring them out first makes it a bit easier for them to give in to sleep and relaxation.

There’s no need to do these activities for hours on end leading up to the evening. 20-30 minute increments throughout the day will work just fine.

brown and black long coated dog lying on green grass field during daytime

Runaways 

Did you know that the 4th of July is the highest intake day for local shelters?

It’s very common for dogs scared of fireworks to bolt from their home, even if they aren’t a runner. You may get upset with your dog if they react this way, but it’s important to think about where their mind is.

When you’re scared, there’s a good possibility you may act irrationally, right? If you’re not in a coherent state of mind, it’s much easier to react rather than think your behavior through. 

When a dog becomes disoriented with fear, they will likely flee the scene to get as far away from the loud noises as they possibly can. If the fireworks keep going off for hours on end throughout the night, they may not be able to find their way back home. It becomes a really, really sad day for a lot of dogs and owners alike.

 

Calming Methods | Use a Leash

Having your dog on leash throughout the day will be the easiest way to calm them. This gives you the opportunity to not only correct their fearfulness, but have a better chance of catching them if they try to bolt. Even during potty breaks, have them on leash regardless of if you have a full fenced backyard.

If your dog was to run away off leash, they stay in a fearful mindset.

“Where can I go?” “How can I escape?” “How do I get away from this?” But having them on leash allows you to calm them down by saying, “It’s alright. Did it scare you buddy? Lay back down.”

A little bit of cool confidence will go a long way with your dog. Once they calm down and look to you as to say, “Oh, are you sure it’s safe?” then you can reward them based off their love language. Whether that be physical touch, works of affirmation, or simply treats. Whatever makes your dog feel loved and appreciated. This shows them that this is the behavior you want and they can trust you to keep them safe.

 

brown and white short coated dog in cage

Crate Time

Dogs who are scared of fireworks want to seek a place of serenity. This is where their crate will come into play. While this idea may seem simple, it will be ideal to move them to a part of the house where the least amount of noise will get to them. Somewhere such as the basement or laundry room.

The laundry room is a bonus if you can have the washer or dryer going to create an extra buffer of sound. But if not, leaving some music on for them will also do the trick. Be sure to play music with a more upbeat tempo, such as rock music, as opposed to something classical and slow. That way if they hear a firework boom, they’ll be more curious than startled.

Covering Their Crate

If you’re confident that your dog will not chew on anything that sits on their crate, covering it is a great option. Just draping a light blanket or sheet over the sides and leaving the front open for air flow will give them a little peace.

You wouldn’t want to sleep in a fully exposed glass room would you? We as humans take a lot of comfort in having four walls that no one can see through. For some dogs, they like the feeling of being in a cozy den too.

 

Essential Oils | CBD

If you use CBD or essential oils with your dog, now would be a great time to continue using them. We don’t recommend starting this the day of the 4th, but if you’re reading this a few weeks ahead of time, that’s a great time to start. Make sure to research which essential oils are approved for dogs.

Remember, a dog’s sense of smell is way better than ours. Just a little bit of scent can go a long way. Whether they just smell it from a small piece of a fabric you put near their crate or by placing a little bit on their collar. A very, very small amount is all you need.

As for CBD, you can use either oil drops in the mouth or chews.  There will be a recommended dosage but keep in mind this may take a bit of adjusting. If you find that it isn’t working, you may need to up the dosage a little bit. Alternatively, if you feel your dog is too drowsy, it may be too high of a dose.

 

Hydrate

Keep in mind that it’s okay if your dog doesn’t eat during the time they’re stressed. Don’t force any food on them. If you offer it at their normal time and they refuse, just put it back up. The most important thing is that they’re drinking water. So make sure wherever they are, inside or outside, it’s accessible to them.

If they stop drinking water for an extended period of time, that’s a cause for concern. Be sure to contact your vet if that happens. Even if they go two or three days without eating a meal but their water intake is consistent, that’s normal as they work through this stressful time of year.

 

Recap

Whether you’re celebrating at home or travelling to see a firework display, we hope these quick fixes will help you calm your dog and give you a little more peace of mind. It’s important be patient, calm, and show them they can trust you. You know when things are safe and the more you work with them, the more they’ll trust that too. Happy celebrating!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji0vVQHsDpc

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