by K9 Power Team July 01, 2021 3 min read

For many of us, holidays like the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve wouldn’t be complete without fireworks. But for our canine companions, these bright and brilliant booms that light up the night sky aren’t awe-inspiring – they’re downright terrifying.

Why are dogs so afraid of fireworks?

The noise and unpredictability of fireworks can be especially frightening for dogs – even more so than other loud noises like thunder. With heightened senses, the loud bangs, flashing lights, and unpleasant smells of explosives can cause dogs extreme distress and trigger varying behaviors including  excessive panting, yawning, trembling, pacing, and hiding.

How do I calm my dog during fireworks?

The natural remedy for dogs scared of fireworks is to prepare ahead of time to help them feel relaxed, safe, and protected.

Before you settle in to watch the show with sparklers in-hand, consider these 7 tips for creating a memorable holiday that’s spectacular for both you and your four-legged friend.

  • Exercise your dog before the fireworks start. 
  • Schedule an extra-long playtime so your pup can expend energy earlier and be more relaxed as festivities unfold. Remember, a tired pup can relax more easily and will be easier to calm.

  • Serve dinner early and take your dog out before dark to avoid direct interaction with the fireworks display.
  • Find out when the fireworks show begins and plan to feed your dog dinner considerably earlier to avoid direct interaction. Give your pup plenty of time to finish and digest dinner and go potty outside. A happy tummy is a happy dog!

  • Consider a dog anxiety vest.
  • Place a weighted vest on your pup before festivities begin. Much like weighted blankets for humans, thunder coats wrap dogs in gentle pressure that feels like a hug and can serve as a drug-free way to calm fireworks-related jitters.

  • Keep your dog distracted during the fireworks with interactive toys.
  • Grab your dog’s favorite toy and keep your best friend busy with a favorite game of toss or tug of war. Playtime is the perfect way to divert attention away from what’s happening outside.

    Another option: Fill a marrow bone or hollow chew toy in advance with a bit of kibble and a dollop of peanut butter, then top it off with a small treat. Stick it in the freezer a few hours in advance to give your dog a tasty distraction that takes a bit of time to finish.

  • Create a  safe space by muffling outside noise with calming sounds.
  • Close your windows and draw your blinds or curtains to eliminate the startling, bright bursts of light that accompany fireworks. Minimize the startling sound of fireworks booms with a sound machine or soothing music. This will be relaxing for both of you!

  • Relocate to a quieter location to help your dog feel safe.
  • Find a comfortable, quiet place – ideally away from windows – where your dog can rest inside until the fireworks show is over. If your pup just can’t seem to settle, you might even consider going for a short car ride together (in the opposite direction of the activity, of course).

  • Get help from your vet or trainer if needed.
  • Even with these tips, your dog might still need help from a specialist to stay calm during fireworks. If you feel like you’ve tried everything and still wonder what you can do to manage your dog’s anxiety during fireworks, consult your veterinarian or trainer to explorewhether additional options like anti-anxiety medication might be a good fit.

    Remember, although fun for humans, fireworks can be scary for your four-legged family members. Take the fear out of fireworks by keeping your  dog safe with these helpful tips for a July Fourth, New Year’s Eve or other holiday your whole family can enjoy.

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