Not every dog has a deep hatred of fireworks season, but those that do end up having extremely difficult times enjoying summer holidays. The bright colors and loud noises send many skittish pups running for cover at the first hint of a fireworks display, and the anxiety of the situation can be detrimental to their health.
The good news is there are plenty of ways to help your dogs survive 4th of July celebrations and other summer events with less stress, lowered anxiety, and much waggier tails. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks to ensure you both get through the festivities unscathed.
Some dogs are unfazed by fireworks shows and loud noises. Others run around barking their heads off and alerting their owners to even the slightest hint of a disturbance, keeping them equally informed that someone is approaching their home or that a neighbor 10 doors down has closed his garage door. These pups don’t like things to be out of the ordinary, and fireworks definitely qualify as a break in routine. Then there are the ones who are worried or just plain scared.
Having a plan of action if you have a dog that’s afraid of fireworks is something to think of and prepare for before the booming onslaught. Reactions from pets may range from excited barking to trembling fear.
If you have a constant barker - It’s important to remember that your favorite four-legged friend’s goal in life is to protect you, and that to him or her each burst of light and boom or blast is an assault on everyone around it, reprimanding your pet only causes further confusion and anxiety.
If you have a pet that hides, bolts, or melts into a trembling being, they are truly scared and feeling insecure. Be cautious, fear-biting or aggression during severe stress is a real thing and can be dog to dog or dog to human. They are scared and hypersensitive to sound and movement.
Dogs are not immediately able to process that fireworks are supposed to be enjoyable, and will therefore often react with concern or panic when the display begins.
Understanding your dog's unique personality and being prepared for your pet's reaction is important to know before the
Your dog is experiencing fireworks-related anxiety if he or she:
- Hides in another room or under a piece of furniture
- Barks incessantly before, during, or after each set of booms
- Has pulled his or her ears back flat
- Has wide eyes that show much more white than normal
- Is panting even in air conditioning
- Pacing, inability to settle, hyperactivity
- Seems to want to run away or flee in a direction that is opposite the action
- Is avoiding eating or drinking
- May salivate, yawn, lick lips or vomit
- Walk hunkered down, may dribble urine
- Aggression, growling, and reactivity
Any behavior out of the ordinary for your furry friend is a sign to take notice of. Your pups might have their own ways of expressing discomfort, but it’s time to take a moment to help reduce their stress levels if any of those signs are present.
IMPORTANT: If your dog has non-productive vomiting &/or signs of a hard, distended, bloated and painful abdomen, seek veterinary care immediately! This could be signs of BLOAT (https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/signs-and-symptoms-bloat-dogs)
How to Help Reduce Fireworks-Induced Anxiety
You can help your fur babies survive fireworks season by taking a few precautions. Here are some of our favorites that are easy to implement — some of them beforehand and some in the exact moment your pup needs your support.
- Safety first. Make sure your pet has a collar with identification and contact information in case they get out or off leash if walking with you. Know the address and phone number of a veterinarian or after-hours pet emergency hospital in case you need it. (Always good information to have regardless)
Get plenty of exercise. Dogs that are tuckered out from exercise earlier in the day have an easier time calming down than those who have pent up energy in addition to their situational discomfort.
Try compression shirts. These products hug your dog and soothe them, making them feel like they’re being embraced. This helps lower stress levels and improve their ability to handle anxiety (Healers offers Therapeutic & Anxiety Body Wraps for front and rear for dogs of all sizes. The two can be used separately or together for an all-over-hug effect).
Play soothing music. Plenty of free Youtube channels and other streaming services offer soothing music crafted just for dogs. These tunes are relaxing to help them reduce anxiety and sleep easier, which will help if you’ve got yours in a room away from the fireworks action.
Try a standing fan. Some pup parents swear by this one. Take your dog to a room that’s furthest from the festivities. Close the windows, turn a standing fan on its highest setting (be sure it’s away from your dog’s reach and also stable so it can’t fall over). Make sure your dog is comfy on a bed, dog bed, or in his or her crate if your pup is crate trained. Close the door and allow the fan to drown out the celebration noise.
Bonus tip: If your pet will tolerate it, put cotton in their ears
- Administer CBD oil. Pet-safe CBD oil has been shown to lower anxiety and reduce inflammation, both of which can ease your pet into a more relaxed state. It can be added to food for easy administration. (Check out Healers’ CBD Oil. Call us for more info 800 924 7036.
Check with your veterinarian for oral anxiety medication way in advance before the actual holiday to insure you have what you may need for your pet on hand.
When all else fails, your pup just wants you to be with him or her. If possible, skip the fireworks and instead sit with your favorite four-legged friend in a room with a fan or some soothing music. Bring a book or a favorite movie, and you’ll be well past the noisy displays in no time.
Happy 4th of July!