We all know and love the beautiful firework displays that happen at this time of year! Although these shows can be fun for (almost) the whole family to see, firework season (specifically Independence Day) can be scary and stressful for our four-legged family members! Dogs tend to be frightened by the loud booming of fireworks and often become scared, stressed and panicked when they hear them go off.
As a parent of dogs who absolutely HATE fireworks, it can be heart wrenching watching them go through the emotions of being scared, panicked, and stressed-out when fireworks are lit nearby. If you talk to your veterinarian, it’s likely they will prescribe sedatives or anti-anxiety medication that may or may not be effective. Instead of resorting to medication, we wanted to let you know that there are a number of alternatives you can try!
#1. Make a safe space for your dog
Designate a part of your home as a “safe space” and help your dog get comfortable there before any planned fireworks begin. Do this while it's calm so they don’t associate the space with the painful experience of a firework show. Take them to their safe space often with treats, toys or just for some belly rubs. A safe space can be created anywhere. In most cases dogs will pick a place they feel most secure for you. This may be a crate, a bathroom, a closet or a bedroom. These would be great places to set up a safe space for your dog. Just make sure they have a protected space away from outside or windows. This will prevent them from feeling that they have to protect themselves on all 360 degrees of the space.
#2. Create a chill mood in your home
When fireworks strike – strike back! Create a calming mood in your home by using products like a salt lamp (a decorative light carved out of pink Himalayan salt that is believed to clean the air in your home, soothe allergies, boost your mood and help you sleep) or use se a pheromone diffuser or adaptor (Adapto is a great brand). You may also try turning on some soft music, white noise or the TV. Also, try turning off the lights as artificial lights can stimulate your dog.
#3. Consider buying a calming aid
There are many products on the market designed to help dogs like mine that are affected by fireworks, thunderstorms, and other loud, scary events. While I don’t personally use any of these products I know other pet parents have had success with them including:
- A grounding mat– basically a carbon infused conductive pad that is plugged into the grounding port (the third bottom hole in an electrical outlet) of an electrical outlet– that grounds them to the earth, making them feel more secure.
- A thunder shirt- this is exactly what it sounds like, a t-shirt made of a lightweight, breathable fabric that clings tightly to their skin and helps them feel safe (like they are being hugged) which helps make them feel calm.
#4. Take steps to ensure your dog's safety!
- Keep dogs away from hazards - Fireworks and sparklers can let off hot embers and debris that can be stepped on or ingested if left accessible to your pup. Be sure to keep your dog securely away from any pyrotechnics and to clean up carefully + thoroughly.
- Double check fencing + dog doors - Make sure that all doggy doors and fencing are secure and closed tight to help keep your dog safe at home while fireworks are in full swing. Dogs often find any way possible to flee when they are frightened or overwhelmed so keeping them indoors is ideal.
- Update microchips & secure ID tags - We hate thinking about our pups getting loose, but just in case, make sure they are wearing a collar with up-to-date ID tags. If your dog is microchipped, be sure that the information is current.
I hope you find these tips helpful – I know that they have helped my dogs! If you ever have any questions or want more tips for helping your dog, don’t hesitate to reach out to our customer service team.
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Head of Customer Experience