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.
10 thoughts on “How To Keep A Dog Calm During Fireworks.”
Thanks for your article. It was very informative and helpful.
I don’t have a pooch, now, but my wife and I had two. One was a blithering, drooling mess during fireworks, while the other one didn’t care what was going on. We wanted to help the scaredy-dog out, but we didn’t know how and could have used your useful tips, back then. But moving forward, after we’ve lost both dogs and are thinking of getting a smallish breed, probably a beagle, we’ll be using you’re guide to keeping the little guy (or gal) calm in the midst of the storm.
Thanks again. Your post is quite timely.
Beagles are a great breed. I would also highly recommend a minature schnauzer. Miss T is just a delight to be with.
Thanks for this timely post my wife and I were actually just talking about this very thing this morning . In the past we have tried a few things to keep our dog calm during fire works, from isolating the dog in a room that was somewhat sound proof to sitting with her during the evening . The last few years we have placed her in her kennel with a blanket tucked around her .I can see that the Thundershirt that you mention would be highly effective , I think I will shopping for one soon .
It’s hard to find ways to sooth them when they’re anxious. It sounds like you were doing all the right things though. The fireworks don’t seem to bother Miss T as much as thunder and lightning do. Having something gently holding her the way the Thundershirts do seems to help her a lot. She’s still a little anxious but it stops her from shivering. Let me know how it works with your dog if you decide to get one.
What a very timely article for us embarking on a new year! I found these tips very helpful for dog owners and have been a cat parent, I am sure of these tips can be used for cats as well. I have Alexa too and never even thought to ask her to play white noise when I need it. Another great tip. What I found unique was a thundershirt! What an awesome concept! What does Miss T think of them? Truly appreciate this article, cause as pet owners, we want our furbabies to be happy, healthy and safe and these tips will definitely help to do so. Thanks so much!
As aside….love the “About Me” page with Miss T. Adorable dog!!! 🙂
Blessings & Happy New Year! 🙂
Thank you. We think she’s pretty special. 😉
Miss T likes the Thundershirt. It doesn’t take away all her anxiety but it at least seems to calm her a bit. Otherwise she shakes uncontrollably during thunderstorms, which we have quite often. Fireworks don’t seem to bother her as much but they are seldom used close enough to where we live to be a problem for her.
But I had a cocker spaniel (Sadie) who was just terrified of fireworks. I always felt bad for her and just couldn’t wait until they were over (which seemed at times like the end would never come). I didn’t know about Thundershirts when I had her. I’m sure it would have helped.
Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!
Happy New Year Miss T. My dog is anxious around big noises. Thunderstorms is bad and fireworks is the worst. Over the past years, we did mostly what you’ve mentioned and even though she calmed down a bit, it doesn’t stop her urine incontinence issue which exacerbate itself during the anxiety period so we have to put on doggie diapers around her to prevent all the wetting on the floor.
It’s kind of sad to see her like that and we are seriously thinking about moving to a more quiet neighborhood.
Poor baby. I can’t help but feel that they know what they’re doing is not right but can’t help themselves.
When I had my cocker spaniel, Sadie, I lived in an area where fireworks were allowed and several times a year (New Years, Memorial Day, 4th of July, etc) it literally sounded like a war was going on in my front yard. Sadie would whine and hide the best she could but she was just terrified.
As you probably know, cockers lose control of their bladder when overly excited so it was not only traumatic for her because of the noise, but she would leave little puddles everywhere.
The neighborhood I moved to after that doesn’t allow them (but some still happen). It was after Sadie had passed on but i’m sure it would have helped. Thunder and lightning really bother Miss T but the fireworks not so much. But they’re farther away and barely noticeable inside the house now.
Thank you for sharing these tips on how to keep dogs calm during fireworks. I used to wonder if all dogs are scared of fireworks; I thought maybe only our dogs are. So one time I asked my friends who are also dog owners and they said that all dogs are scared of fireworks because they’re loud and random. No matter how exciting the new year celebration is, I feel sorry for our dogs who seem to not know where to go and hide.
Normally, we would have our dogs seated very close to us during fireworks and until the celebration is over. This is our way making them calm and feel safe. I wish I had known about thundershirt before. I’ll check it out.
I’m pretty sure almost all dogs are scared by fireworks. It’s a danger they can’t really identify so they don’t know what to do with it other than try to hide from it or become very anxious. I doubt if the Thundershirt is the answer for every dog, but it seems to help Miss T and everything I read about it indicates it works most of the time to a large degree.
If you decide to try it let me know how it works out for you and your dog.