Since we were kids, we’ve all been fascinated by fireworks. But while we respond with “ooohs” and “ahhhs” while watching fireworks, dogs often respond with stress and fear from the loud sounds, bright lights and strange smells. Here are some tips to prepare your dog for the next round of neighborhood firework displays.
Be Aware of Firework Dates
Fireworks have been around since the 12th century but that is little comfort to dogs, many of whom get scared every time those exploding lights fill up the night air.
To start prepping your dog for a night of fireworks, be aware of the most common times people like to set them off. The most popular nights include The Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year, Memorial Day in the U.S. and Victoria Day in Canada.
Tire Them Out During the Day
As all dog owners know, a tired pup is a happy pup. Prior to a night of fireworks, get your dog out for a long walk while the sun is still up. Run with them, play games and just generally get them to a point where they are just dog-tired from all of the fun.
Getting your dog physically drained will have a nice calming effect and they will be less likely to be hyper when the fireworks start going off later. To get through the evening, your pup may just need a night laying on the couch with you watching TV reassuringly beside them.
Create A Safe Place
Some pups get tense once the fireworks start going off so prepare your house in advance by closing all the windows and, if possible, shutting the curtains to help muffle some of the sights and sounds. For added distraction, keep all the lights on in the house. The added brightness will help your pup feel more secure.
Your dog may also seek a hiding spot to make them feel more safe. Their instincts will kick in and they may want to soothe themselves by hiding in an area that has only one viewable access point like a closet or under a bed pressed against a wall. Make them feel comfortable there with a familiar blanket along with easy access to food and water.
Keep Them Distracted
To keep your dog’s mind off the random booms of a nearby firework display, flood your home with other, more commonplace sounds. Turn the air conditioner on, turn on some music or have the television on to help keep his ears occupied.
You can also help distract them by having their favourite chew toy within easy reach. Objects that have a food element like a Kong filled with peanut butter or cheese can also help keep their mind on things other than the fireworks.
As the pack leader, your dog looks to you for guidance. If you are relaxed while the fireworks are going off, your dog will sense this and it will help them remain calm. If you are tensely checking on them every five seconds or hushing them, they may sense your anxiety and become more agitated.