Happy New Year from Miss T!
It’s another New Year. Time to reflect on the year just past. Time to look forward to the year ahead. Time to celebrate.
Some will celebrate with family, some with friends, some with thousands of strangers. But almost all of those celebrations will have something in common (besides alcohol). Yep, fireworks.
We love our fireworks. They’re beautiful! Spectacular! Sometimes breathtaking!
They’re also loud! VERY loud. And most of the time, scary for your dog.
Why Do Fireworks Scare Your Dog?
Lets start with the obvious. Generally, fireworks are loud and tend to startle your dog who might otherwise be having a very peaceful evening. While your dog may be used to other loud noises, fireworks are generally unexpected and somewhat random.
In your dogs world, the fireworks present a threat to them. Since they can’t be sure where the threat is coming from their natural response is to run and find a place to hide. They feel vunerable.
Also, your dog tends to take cues from other members of the household It’s a holiday, a celebration. Chances are you’re going to be a little keyed up already. Your dog is going to sense this.
How To Keep A Dog Calm During Fireworks
Here are some ideas to help keep your dog calm during fireworks.
- Distract your dog. Play a game with him. Does she have a favorite toy or ball that you throw for them to fetch? If so, find it and play fetch or tug of war or some other game to keep your dog occupied.
- Exercise your dog more than you normally would during the day before the fireworks start. He will be a bit more tired than normal and therefore more calm.
- Remain calm yourself once the fireworks start. Act like they’re normal. Try not to get excited or act startled yourself. Your dog observes your reaction to the percieved danger and uses that information to process what’s going on around him.
- Shut the curtains. Seems obvious but it needed to be said. It muffles the noise a bit and can cut out some or all of the visual stimulation.
- Provide a safe space for you dog. Kennel her and put a cover over it to make her feel like she’s hidden from the danger. If that isn’t possible then allow her to hide in a closet or under a bed. Anywhere she feels safe from danger. Provide blankets and a favorite toy or two as well.
- If you take your dog outside during the fireworks display, be sure he is on a leash. While he might normally stay right with you on walks and come when called, fireworks can panic your dog and cause him to run away. (The leash isn’t going to calm your dog but it’s going to keep you from being a basket case when he runs away and doesn’t come back).
- Provide some white noise. If you own an Alexa, ask her to play white noise. Then ask her to “loop this”. It will play the white noise until you tell it to stop. (Waterfall, wind, fan, ocean, etc). If you don’t have a device for playing these soothing sounds then turn on a TV or radio to help drown out the sound of the fireworks.
- Try getting a Thundershirt for your dog. This is a shirt / vest that gently hugs your dog and makes them feel safe. Most dog owners who have tried them swear by them and claim they instantly calm your dog regardless of what is making him or her anxious. You can probably find them at your local pet store or you can order them from Amazon here.
- If at all possible. Stay home with your dog. But if that isn’t possible an alternative might be to purchase a web camera that will let you monitor or interact with your dog from where ever you might be. The Furbo Dog Camera is great for this and has the added feature of being able to dispense treats for your dog on your command.
- If your dog has a tendency to be anxious, even without the added stimulation of fireworks, you might want to consider an over the counter calming medication. Please check with your vet on this.
Keep Your Dog Safe And You’ll Both Enjoy The Holiday More
As you can see from the above list, it’s really just common sense. Do what you can to make your dog feel safe, secure and loved and you’ll both enjoy the holidays where fireworks are included a lot more. Happy Holidays from our family to yours.