Complete Guide to Your Dog and Fireworks on the 4th of July
It’s nearly time to celebrate America’s birthday with barbecues, family and, of course, fireworks. While fireworks are a staple tradition, pup owners know that it can be a scary time for our beloved fur babies.
Read on to learn what to do to make sure your pooch is ready to snooze the night away – without the usual firework-induced panic attacks.
Why Exactly is My Dog So Scared of Fireworks?
There are a handful of reasons why your beloved fur child may be fearful of fireworks and other loud noises, such as thunderstorms.
Reason #1: Your Dog’s Hearing is Four Times More Powerful than Yours
Our furbabies are amazing creatures. From wide-ranging personalities to keenly sensitive senses, your woof is truly a special being. Your dog’s hearing is especially impressive. Dogs can hear up to four times as far as us hoomans and can even hear higher-pitched sounds that are not audible to our own ears.
It’s no wonder that hearing fireworks four times as loud as we hear them can give your sweet pooch a scare!
Reason #2: Dogs Don’t Have Any Context for 4th of July Fireworks
Us two-legged hoomans look forward to the 4th of July as soon as Memorial Day rolls over, and often even earlier. We make plans weeks in advance to celebrate this boisterous holiday. However, to our four-legged counterparts, this is just another day in the life of a pampered pooch. This day of seemingly random, loud noises can catch our pups off-guard and increase their anxiety.
Reason #3: Fireworks Ignite the Fight or Flight Response in Dogs
The 4th of July is, sadly, a day that many dogs go missing. This is because the loud, unexpected and randomly pattern loud bangs trigger their fight or flight response. Your dog may either quiver in a safe corner, bark back at the loud noises or he or she may try to run from the eardrum-rumbling fireworks display.
7 Effective Ways to Calm Your Dog During Fireworks
#1: Desensitize Your Dog Before the 4th of July
Work with your pooch leading up to the anticipated firework show or other loud noises by using this YouTube video. The idea is to help him or her remain calm during recordings of fireworks initially played at a low volume. Give her treats as she remains calm. Gradually increase the volume of the recording or lower it if your pooch becomes anxious. Do this for a little bit each day with plenty of praise and treats.
#2: Exercise Your Pooch Earlier in the Day
On the day of July 4th, don’t forget to help your pooch run off any pent up energy before the big show begins. Take your furbabe on a walk, to the dog park, to doggie daycare at Hounds Lounge or any of their favorite pant-inducing activities. This will help them use up their energy before the fireworks begin and help facilitate a more relaxed July 4th evening.
#3: Keep Your Pooch Inside During the Fireworks Show
We know, we want to do everything with our beloved fur children, too. However, we also want to avoid any heartbreaks this 4th of July by keeping our dogs securely inside. Make sure to take your dog out to potty before the display gets going and make a plan with the family to ensure your pooch stays inside.
#4: Make Sure They Are Securely Wearing Their Collar and Tags
While we recommend keeping our woofs inside tonight, it’s very important to make sure that they are wearing their collar and tags before the fireworks begin. Accidents can happen, so just in case your beloved fur child manages to get outside, be prepared by making sure their collar fits well (the collar should be snug but you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your woof’s neck) and tag information is up-to-date.
#5: Create a Safe Space for Your Pooch Inside
If your dog tends to be quite anxious, be sure to put a comfortable, safe space together before the fireworks begin to boom. Keep your dog in an interior room with curtains or blinds closed. Try to keep as much sound and flashing light out of this room as possible.
If your pooch is crate trained, you can put them in their crate with a blanket over it for an added sense of security. Make sure they have all their favorite toys, beds, towels or blankets close by for ultimate comfort.
#6: Play Calming Music
While dogs may not be able to follow harmonies and rhythms, there is something to playing soothing music for your dog during a fireworks show or thunderstorm. According to YouTube, we recommend playing this 10-hour soothing music compilation with desensitizing sounds to soothe and maybe even put your pooch to sleep!
#7: Cover Him or Her with a Weighted Blanket or Compression Vest
A weighted blanket or a compression vest, such as a ThunderShirt, can help calm your dog during a fireworks show by applying gentle pressure to reduce anxiety and tension. These also work for thunderstorms and other loud noises. If you don’t have a weighted blanket or compression vest, try using a heavy quilt or other soft covering.
Hounds Lounge Offers Extra Help
Maybe you’re off to the lake this weekend or visiting a relative’s home. Our team at Hounds Lounge hopes you have a safe and happy weekend! Should you need either a place to help your dog run off some energy while you prepare for your festive holiday or you’re going out of town and are feeling concerned about your woof, Hounds Lounge is here to help.
We’ll be open all weekend, offering doggie daycare and dog boarding services. Please reach out to us with any additional questions you may have.
Happy 4th of July!