Does your dog freak out during fireworks displays? If so, he’s in good company. While fireworks are quite a treat for us two-legged folks, they cause a lot of stress for our furry companions.
Did you know that the Humane Society says more dogs are found wandering free on July 4th than on any other day of the year?
Humans are fortunate enough (or maybe unfortunate enough at times) to have the mental ability to override our instinct. We may feel scared about something, but we can tamp down our instinct to fight or flee.
Dogs are not so fortunate. A long succession of very loud noises (remember their hearing is about 4x better than ours) will put their instinct into overdrive.
And even if they can take an action (like burrow ad hide) that makes them feel safe, it can be and incredibly distressing experience for them.
But there are some things you can do to help reassure your pet.
Just like a child wants comfort when afraid or fearful of something, dogs want the same thing. When your dog starts to panic from hearing fireworks, give him a tight and comforting hug. Let him know you’re there to protect and comfort him.
SWADDLING OR PRESSURE VESTS
Newborn babies are often swaddled to help them go to sleep. A similar concept seems to work with animals. Wrap your dog up nice and snug.
Or you can purchase a thunder-shirt, calming coat, anxiety wrap, or similar product. They exert light pressure on particular pressure points that cause him to relax.
Play some loud music in the house, or turn up the TV nice and loud. Cover up the scary sounds with sounds your dog is more use to hearing. A loud fan or air purifier may work well too.
Choose a room that has a lot of padding that will absorb sound, instead of echo or amplify the bangs and booms. A bedroom is a good place, or a finished basement works well too.
Is there something your dog absolutely loves to do like play tug of war with a sock or chew on a tasty rawhide bone?
Dogs can easily be distracted. Take advantage of this as a tool for calming your pet down when fireworks start to fly.
SET UP A SAFE SPACE
Have you ever seen your dog retreat to specific corner of the house as a safe haven? Exploit this instinct. Creat a little fort, doggy house, or safe space in a tucked away area.
Dog usually seek out a small, confined area. Your dog may even prefer to be in his crate.
Place your dog’s favorite toys in there, set up a comfortable bed with his favorite blanket in it, and even play some soothing music while he’s in it.
The most important thing is not to force your dog into doing something when he’s afraid, angry, or stressed. Do your best to coax him, but avoid making him feel coerced when he’s already overwhelmed.