For humans, the Fourth of July is a chance to enjoy barbecue, family, friends and hopefully a nice display of fireworks. For dogs, however, it’s a day filled with potential danger. Unaware of the symbolism behind the raucous tiny explosions, pups may very well experience anxiety at the sound of fireworks. The bangs and vibrations can easily turn a 50-pound tank into a trembling lapdog.
To calm nerves and soothe a keyed up pup, help manage your dog’s firework anxieties by putting these tactics to use.
- Stick by their side
If you’re worried about coddling them, don’t be. Having their humans around can help dogs immensely as fireworks are bursting in the air. The familiarity of a master is a comforting reassurance and can provide a much needed sense of normalcy. As pack animals they’re rather dependent on the group. When you can’t be there in the flesh, leave an article of clothing with your scent on it to quell their nerves.
- Get a thunder shirt
These Velcro fastened fabric garments fit tightly around your dog’s chest and torso. Not unlike a baby swaddle or hug, they soothe by gently constricting the midsection. They’re extremely effective at calming anxieties stemming from loud noises. Check your local pet store for options.
- Set up a shelter
Having a crate available is a good idea. Locking them inside is not. Dogs can rebel if fully restricted. However, lining the temporary shelter with your dog’s favorite blanket and toys can create a cozy place to retreat from the rocket’s red glare.
- Drown out noise
Drawing the curtains to reduce the amount of light and sound is a good idea. You can also put on white noise on loop or play classical music to diffuse some of the loudness. However you can lessen the sensory input the better. It’ll prevent your dog from getting too over stimulated by the flurry of activity outside.
- Use natural supplements
With your vet’s permission only, you can look into supplements. Always check with a professional before administering anything, even if it’s all-natural and over the counter. Melatonin, for example, works great for helping promote sleep in dogs with little to no known side effects. You can also use calming chews with valerian root, chamomile and passionflower; ingredients known to help with moderate anxiety.
If all else fails, a pack of all natural dog treats make for a great distraction. The longer they can focus and channel their energy chewing, the less time they’ll have to fret about the noise.
Whichever method you choose, make sure to give your dog loads of love to offset their firework induced cortisol levels and let freedom ring!