Tips for Calming Dogs During Fireworks

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It’s fun watching fireworks explode in the sky. We get to celebrate with these wonderful, colourful bangs that can top off any party. Sadly, dogs don’t often feel the same way about fireworks as we humans do. In fact, there are many dogs that become petrified by the loud noises and difference in their usual routine. Dogs that are affected by fireworks can display unusual behaviour, from crawling into small spaces to crying and pacing. If your dog is affected by fireworks and you’re wondering what you can do to calm him, try some of these tips.

Keep Your Dog Inside

Two dogs being taken for a walkYou may think that encouraging a frightened dog outside to enjoy the fireworks with the rest of the family may help him to see that there’s nothing to be scared of. However, this can backfire dramatically. The safest place for a scared dog when fireworks are going off is inside. If there is a place where your dog feels safe, like a crate or bed, allow your dog to take refuge there. It’s also a good idea for the dog to have some human company. After all, when your dog is scared, you are it’s only form of protection and reassurance.

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Exercise

Going for a long walk before fireworks are scheduled to go off will help your dog’s brain to relax. If you don’t have the time to walk your dog before the celebrations kick off, you could hire a dog walker, like Friends for Pets dog walking. If your dog is tired as the fireworks begin, he may be more likely to sleep through the noises instead of becoming upset by them.

Create a Retreat

Often, when a dog feels unsafe or threatened by noises, they like to retreat to small, dark and enclosed spaces. It’s a natural way for them to feel safe. There are lots of ways you can provide this for your dog. If you have a crate, you can throw a dark blanket over the top of it so your dog can’t see through the bars. You can also create a make-shift retreat by hanging blankets over chairs and pinning them there, just as children would do to make a forte. Alternatively, why not consider investing in a small pop up tent that you can place in the living room when your dog needs it and easily store it away when it’s not being used.

Distraction

One of the best ways to calm your dog is to distract him from what’s happening. There are various ways you can do this. You could provide your dog with a Kong toy filled with treats so he has to challenge himself mentally to get them out. You can also put the TV on or play music louder than you normally would to cover the sounds of the fireworks. If your dog likes a ball, playing chase inside could be just enough to distract your dog from what’s happening outside.

Dog being cuddledFlickr

Touch

Sometimes, all your dog will need is a little bit of reassurance. By just placing your hand on top of your dog’s back while he rests, he could become settled enough to sleep through the night. If your dog is unable to sleep, stroke his fur and scratch him in places you know he likes. However, you should be cautious about invading a dog’s personal space when it’s scared. Some dogs can become aggressive when their frightened. Use your best judgement.

Thundershirt

The thundershirt was specifically designed for dogs that have trouble with loud noises that may come from fireworks or thunder and lightning storms. It works by providing a constant pressure on your dog, like acupressure, that encourages relaxation. There’s usually an immediate improvement in dogs that use it and a significant improvement over time.

Scent

We all know that dogs have a fantastic sense of smell. However, few dog owners know that familiar scents and smells can calm a dog. It’s why kennels and home boarders recommend bringing your dog’s blankets and toys, even for short stays. During fireworks, you can pick up scent boosters that can be plugged into electricity sockets and release a calming scent for your dogs. They work in the same way that many air fresheners do. Take a look at Canine Calm as an example.

Block the Noise

It may seem like common sense, but during the hotter months, dog owners are still tempted to leave windows open when fireworks are going off. Make sure your windows and doors are closed and you have a fan or air conditioning inside to keep you and your dog cool.

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