Fireworks can be fun for humans, but dogs don't have the same reaction.
The 4th of July is right around the corner, along with the fireworks that inevitably terrorize our pets. Almost all dog owners in the U.S. declare this day the worst day of the year for their dogs. For local shelters and rescues, it is the busiest time of the year for them, as more dogs are found wandering loose on July 4th than any other day of the year.
Here are some tips to help keep your dogs calm and safe:
1. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day. If you take him for a walk or play day where he will be more tired upon getting home, he may be too sleepy to notice the excitement.
2. Keep your dogs inside during fireworks, preferably with human companionship. Bringing your dogs to a fireworks display is never a good idea.
3. Provide a safe place inside for your dogs to retreat. When scared of sounds they can’t orient, dogs often prefer small enclosed areas. If your dog is comfortable in a crate, that is a good option.
4. If possible, keep the windows and curtains closed. Covering the crate or lowering the blinds can also be helpful. Removing visual stimulation can also help calm dogs.
5. Distract your dog from the noise by having the TV or the radio on.
6. Leave your dog something fun to do – like a frozen Kong filled with his favorite treats.
7. Make sure all your dogs are wearing ID tags with a properly fitting collar or even better, are microchipped and registered. Dogs have been known to become Houdini around the 4th of July.
8. Shut your dog safely inside a room or crate before opening the front door.
Take your dog to a firework display, even if your dog does not bark or whimper, don’t assume he or she is happy. Excessive yawning and panting can indicate that your dog is stressed.
Tie your dog up outside while fireworks are being let off.
Assume your yard is escape proof. If your dog needs to go out keep him on a leash just in case.
Leave your dog on his own or in a separate room from you.
Try to force your dog to face his fears – he’ll just become more frightened.
Forget to top off the water bowl. Anxious dogs pant more and get thirsty.
Change routines more than necessary, as this can be stressful for some dogs.
Try and coax him out if he does retreat, as this may cause more stress.
Yell at your dog. This will only make your pet more distressed. It is important to remember that it is natural for a dog to be scared of loud noises and unfamiliar sights and sounds.