7 Ways to Protect Your Dogs During Fireworks

Most Americans love the Fourth of July holiday!  They look forward to the parties, picnics, games, socializing with friends, and, of course, the fireworks.  Most people, including children, love and look forward to fireworks.  While people love and look forward to the fireworks, many dogs, on the other hand, are terrorized by them. If your dogs are terrorized by fireworks, focus more on shielding them from the noise. This article presents 7 ways to protect your dogs during fireworks.

Keeping Your Dog is Calm and Safe During Fireworks

Here are some suggestions to try to help your dog to Keep safe even during fireworks.

Desensitizing                                                                                                                  Man desensitizing dog to fireworks--7 ways to protect your dogs from fireworks

Desensitizing is the process of disassociating the noise of the fireworks with fear and associating it instead with something your dog loves such as playing and treats.  One method of accomplishing this is to play a fireworks video first at a low volume but gradually increase the volume.

Also while the video is playing you play with your dog, give him a treat he that he loves, or take him for a walk.  Keep doing this on a regular basis so your dog will begin to associate the sound of fireworks with fun and enjoyment instead of fear.

Be patient and consistent and over time, you can get your dog to not be afraid of fireworks.  It will take some effort and continued reinforcement but it is really the best method to deal with the fear because you are replacing a negative reaction with a positive one.

Planning

Infographic with information about July 4 & Pet Safety

Planning ahead of time will greatly impact the safety and well-being of your dog.  Will you be attending a fireworks display?  If so are you bringing your dog or leaving him home?  For those of you who are planning on bringing your dog to a fireworks display we highly recommend that you DO NOT BRING YOUR DOGS! 

If your dog is afraid of fireworks bringing him closer to the source of the fireworks is a terrible suggestion.  The fireworks will appear bigger and noisier and your dog could become panicked and could possibly get away from you.  This is a real recipe for disaster! Your dog is panicked and running loose in a downtown area that he most likely doesn’t know.  If you are lucky, animal control will pick him up before he gets hit by a car and injured or worse yet, killed.

Leaving your dog at home alone

It is not recommended to leave your dog alone during stressful times such as fireworks.  If you are determined to go to the fireworks display then please follow one of the recommendations below.

  • Suggestion 1:  Find a trusted friend who is willing to stay with your dog.
  • Suggestion 2:  Locate a Doggie Day Care that is far from where the fireworks will be and leave your dog there.  This is highly recommended because your dog will enjoy himself playing with other dog hiding under something cowering in fear -- 7 ways to protect your dog from fireworksdogs.  Also, the people who run the doggie daycare are most likely very knowledgeable about calming dogs during fireworks. Plan far enough in advance for this option. It may be difficult to find a doggie daycare facility that is not closed over the holiday.  If your dog has separation anxiety then this can be a real dilemma.

Keeping Your Dogs Calm

dog mom calming her baby down

Keep your dog active during the day so he will be tired by nighttime and, hopefully, just sleep through it all. Discuss with your vet the use of pheromone diffusers.  These can have a calming effect on your dog. Purchase a “Thunder Shirt” for your dog.  The purpose of these shirts is to help your dog to feel protected.      

Preparing your home

  • Close all windows
  • Lock your doggie door so your dog can’t get out and run away;
  • Turn on the TV with a volume high enough to block outside noise;
  • Prepare a puppy pad for your dog so he will have a place to go;         headphones for dogs to protect them from the noisy fireworks -- 7 ways to protect your dogs during fireworks
  • Plug up any gaps in doors, windows, or anywhere, with foam rubber;

Sedation

  • If your dog goes into panic mode every 4th of July, then consult your vet regarding the use of a safe sedative to try and keep him calmer.
  • Watch your dog closely for signs of panic and try to be proactive by providing love and reassurance that he has no reason to be afraid.
  • Be patient with your dog and avoid any harsh words or anger and frustration towards your dog. Some dogs may revert to older behaviors simply out of fear.  For example, your dog may forget that he is housebroken and go on your floor, but don’t punish him it will just aggravate the situation and make things worse.                                                                                                                                 Dog getting sedative shot at vet --7 ways to protect your dogs during fireworks

 In case of emergency

  • Keep your vet’s number handy
  • Be sure you know the phone number and location of the closest emergency vet as many regular vets are not open due to the holiday.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Injured military dog gets treatment by emergency vets -- 7 ways to protect your dog during fireworks

Final Thoughts

Think of your dog first on July 4. You can sacrifice 1 holiday a year for the safety and well-being of your dog. There have been tragic reports throughout the years of dogs getting so frightened they jump through the glass on sliding glass doors and windows and die.

A fireworks display is not worth the possibility of sacrificing your dog’s life and safety. Here are a few products that could help you to keep your dog more relaxed during fireworks.

Please add a comment about your experiences with a terrified dog during fireworks. Feel free to ask questions or add anything that you feel should have been included in this article.

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