How to Calm a Dog When They're Afraid of Fireworks
So many dogs are terrified of fireworks. And getting a pooch used to them is no easy feat. But with some patience (and in some cases, a trip to the vet), can help your pet through their fear of firecrackers.
The new year's just passed. And it won't be too long before another event in your city will start shooting off fireworks to celebrate. So many dogs are terrified of fireworks. It's not just the small breeds. True, some dogs don't care. But some, like my lovely Labrador puppy, whimper, run, and hide from the sound of firecrackers.
Here's the thing though. Simply telling them to not be afraid isn't going to help. Do you think they care that you monologue on them and told them to not be afraid of fireworks? No, monologuing won't help. And neither will scolding or punishing.
Getting a dog used to fireworks (or the sound of firecrackers) takes a lot of patience. And in some cases, a professional vet.
7 Ways to Curb Your Dog’s Fear of Firecrackers
Simply exposing your dog to the sound of firecrackers in the hopes of him or her getting used to it is not a great idea.
No protection + Great exposure = A very stressed and frightened fur baby.
Avoiding bringing your dog to places where the fireworks will take place is a good start. But what else?
#1 Keep your dogs in a safe space
Some dogs feel immense comfort in the presence of their owners, and when they have their own place to hide when the firecrackers are popping off. For instance, my dog loves to hide behind the couch that I'm occupying. Under the bed during New Year's Eve is a safe haven for her too.
Or you can also consider buying a crate. They work well for other stressors too. Don't forget to add a crate bed, some cozy blankets, and your furry friend's favorite toys.
#2 Get your pet some exercise
On the day of the Fourth of July, or in the morning of New Year's Eve, take your favorite canine out for a walk. Or engage him in fun play. Basically, any activity that will tire him out. You've heard of the saying that "a tired dog is a happy dog." And that's true.
Tiring your pooch out will reduce anxiety and works wonders at keeping him from getting overly anxious later on at night, when the fireworks and firecrackers are popping at full blast.
#3 Turn a radio or TV on
This works well if you're not going to be at home when the fireworks start shooting off. Other sounds may succeed at distracting your pet from the booming firework noises. Putting classical music is also a great idea if you know that your dog enjoys such things.
#4 Close your curtains
Shut the windows, and close the curtains to minimize the booming sounds. It helps your dog feel safe. Or if you have areas in your home that are more sound-proof than others, then opt for these sound-dampening areas to take care of your pup's anxiety.
Sometimes the basement can be their place of comfort too.
#5 Distract them with delicious toys
Sometimes, the key is to keep your pooch occupied. Give them something better to do than drown in anxiety. Try a good chew toys, or dog puzzle toys.
Of course, this sort of tactic doesn't work on every dog. But if you find your dog taking a shine to it, then try it out. This works wonders if your fur baby is still a puppy. It's good to teach them how they can stave off boredom with these toys or puzzles.
As they grow older, they would develop a habit, and you can calm them down with methods like these.
#6 Work on desensitizing your dog
To avoid such crippling anxiety, work on desensitizing your dog to firecrackers very gently. Playing a video with such sounds and visuals is a good starting point, and it will help reinforce the fact that fireworks don't equate to life-threatening situations.
As the video plays, entertain your dog. Break out the toys and bring out your best treats. This is so they associate fireworks sounds with fun things.
#7 Maybe some anti-anxiety meds will help
If push comes to shove and none of these will ever help your distressed pooch, it's a great idea to seek professional advice from a local veterinary clinic. There are anti-anxiety medicine for dogs, calming treats, and over-the-counter options.
Make sure you check with your vet for the right prescriptions if need be.
TLC Does the Trick!
Each canine breed comes with their set of fears and anxieties. And it totally doesn't take away the fact that dos are special creatures. Stay home with your pooch if you can. Keep them comforted and happy.
Because at the end of the day, when they feel scared and anxious, they will look to you and your family for a source of comfort and security.