We all look forward to celebrating the 4th with fireworks… but for your dog, this week could be full of fear and anxiety. Here are some great fireworks tips for keeping your dog calm from Caesar’s Way:
1.) Go for a long walk before celebrating. If you normally take your dog out for thirty minutes, take a two-hour hike instead! You want your dog to be completely exhausted. This way his brain will be so tired that he won’t be able to concentrate on the fireworks.
2.) Use canine-safe ear plugs. It is natural for dogs to be afraid of loud noises. The sounds trigger their nervous system, and they may become nervous, afraid, unsure, or shy. Running away from the noise is a survival mechanism. If you can block the noise, it may curb the “flight” response.
3.) Distract your dog. Once the fireworks go off, ask him to do obedience behavior, put him on the treadmill, or strap on his backpack. This helps him focus on something other than the noise.
4.) Involve your dog’s nose. Scents such as lavender or pine can help encourage your dog to relax.
5.) Maintain calm and assertive energy. Don’t feel sorry or frustrated. Don’t blame the fireworks or the people setting them off. These negative emotions will just feed your dog’s anxiety; it won’t help the situation!
6.) Keep your dog on a leash. This will give you more control and help you prevent your dog from running off.
7.) Make sure your dog has I.D. If your dog does become lost, tags and microchips can get him back to you safely. You may also want to consider investing in a device that allows you to locate your dog immediately, like Global Pet Finder.
8.) Be proactive! If you learn that your dog is nervous around fireworks, start preparing now for next year. I recommend that you begin conditioning your dog to be comfortable with these loud sounds at least three months in advance. Don’t wait until Independence Day to introduce your dog to the loud sounds associated with fireworks. Download the sounds of firecrackers, pistols, and other loud noises, and allow your dog to hear them at a low volume while he’s eating, walking, sleeping, and watching TV with you. Gradually increase the volume each day until your dog is comfortable with the sounds at the highest level. I also recommend that you introduce the scent of fireworks to your dog, so he becomes comfortable with that. It’s a simple process, but it takes time. Don’t wait until the last minute to do something about it, and next year it will be a walk in the park!