The ooos and ahhhs of firework watching is just around the corner as we celebrate with the 4th of July. As much as we fancy those showy displays of light, many dogs are not fond of the booms that accompany fireworks. Each dog is different – Icey my rottie didn’t mind fireworks, Mick ran away once & hid under a deck, Bender didn’t care but most frequently was in the house so he didn’t get nommed on by mosquitos and Axle didn’t get much exposure to them (he may not have liked them).
Here are 5 tips to make the best of this 4th of July:
- Get your walks in before the booms begin.
Walk in the morning and in the evening before dusk rolls around. The walks will maintain your dog’s routine, help lower anxiety level and expel extra energy your pup may have. A tired dog is a dog will will quiet easier and snooze deeper making those booms pretty minimal.
** Too hot to walk? Play fetch or tug in the yard or bring your dog out for a swim (or put your tootsies in the kiddie pool & “fish” for toys).
- Stay home with your dog. (Unless your dog is groovy with the fireworks, then bring them with!)
If all the fizzes and pops from the little neighborhood shows and booms from the big show will rattle your dog, opt for staying home with them. You are your dog’s comfort and protector and being home will help them understand not to be too worried about the noises outside. Pop in a favorite movie, snuggle into the couch and share a bowl of popcorn.
** Instead of a movie, cue up videos featuring fireworks. Start with a low volume and each time the sound of the fireworks is heard, give your dog a piece of popcorn. Up the volume, repeat. Bonus popcorn if anyone in the neighborhood shoots off fireworks. The ideal is fireworks = yummy treat = no so bad!
- Give your dog some space & respect their fear.
If you dog is super rattled and wants to hide in their crate or under a giant pile of blankets, let them. Dogs need to have an option to “escape” a situation if they feel overwhelmed. This is part of puppy training too. Scary things should invoke curiosity, but if they are too much the puppy needs to have the option to opt out. Let your dog have that too. Make sure their crate or safe spot is cozy – toss a blanket over their crate to make it even more den-like – and check in on them throughout the evening.
- Make sure your dog has the updated identification, just in case.
It’s as simple as making sure your dog has tags on their collar. Rabies tags will have a notation of the vet who did them + ID #, city dog license will have an ID # and if anyone finds your pup, they can call and let them know your pup was found. Make sure your dog’s main ID take has updated phone numbers – don’t forget to make sure your dog’s microchip has an updated phone number & address too!
- If it’s really really bad, talk to your vet about meds.
Meds can help your dog chill so they can zonk into a solid sleep and put the noises of the day at bay. If the fireworks are long winded into July from neighborhood activities, talk to your vet and see what the best plan for comfort for your dog will be.
If your dog is groovy with the fireworks, bring them with for the activities. Make sure they have up to date identification in case they get startled. And remember to have an exit plan if your dog gets overwhelmed and needs to retreat.
With these 5 tips we hope you and your pup will have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!