With Independence Day approaching – the American holiday popular for firework displays – it’s important to think of our K9 friends. Most dogs are scared of fireworks, and as soon as the popping sounds start, they freak out. If you’ll be with a dog on July 4th, make sure you know how to keep their fear at bay and ensure their protection.
Set up a Safe Space
If your dog has a crate and they feel comfortable in there, set it up in a room far from the fireworks. Drape a blanket over the crate to block out light, and place your dog inside with a toy or treat for comfort before the fireworks begin. If your dog doesn’t use a crate, you can create another safe space for them. Again pick a room that is fairly dark and quiet, and give them some sort of comfortable set up with blankets. Leave your pet in their safe space throughout the fireworks, and don’t attempt to comfort them. This could reinforce their behavior, and confirm that they have a reason to be scared.
Do Exercise & Potty Before the Show
Make sure your pup gets their energy out and goes to the bathroom before they go into their safe space for the night. This will reduce the chance of them freaking out and running around, destroying things, and potentially peeing in the house. A tired and fed dog is a calm dog. If you have a mentally stimulating toy for your dog, you can put it in their safe space for continued distraction.
Collar & Microchip
Make sure your dog is wearing their collar during the firework show. Even if you don’t think they could escape, you would be surprised with how crafty a dog can be if they sense danger. If you don’t already have your dog microchipped, try and do so before the holiday, in case they escape and lose their collar. It can be a life saving backup option to identify your dog and get them home safe.
Use Anti-Anixety Tools if Needed
If your dog gets particularly freaked out by fireworks, talk to your vet before the holiday. They may choose to prescribe medication or suggest tactics that will keep your dog calm. Some people claim that CBD dog treats help with pet anxiety, but consult your veterinarian first.
If you have time leading up to the holiday, one tool to reduce anxiety would be to start positively reinforcing loud noises. You can use training to show your dog that they get treats when there are scary sounds, and this could reduce their fear when the fireworks start.
Having your dog get scared and escape can be terrifying for you and dangerous for them. Your beloved pet could get lost, get hit by a car, or bite someone out of fear. Dog bites go up in volume during the July 4th holiday, just like the number of dogs who run away. This is due to dogs’ increased fear, and therefore fight or flight response. It’s also due to the heat. So remember that not only are these steps important to increase your dog’s safety, but also those in your community.