The highlight of any Fourth of July is the fireworks show – bright lights, crackling noises and sparkles across the night sky. While the fireworks serve as a climactic ending to a great day—what many of us barbeque all day in anticipation of—for your dogs, the show may be just the opposite. Put yourself in their “paws” to understand why: Unexpected noises. Thundering booms. Strange lights.
It’s no wonder that fireworks can cause some dogs to completely panic! Read on to learn what you can do to protect your pooch this Fourth of July.
Why Do Dogs Get Freaked Out By Fireworks?
There are many reasons why fireworks can freak your dog out—but the first one is that they are loud. The booming noises that fireworks create fall completely outside of your pet’s sense of normalcy. Couple that with the fact that dog’s have far more sensitive hearing than us humans, and your dog may think he’s suddenly living in a war zone.
The unexpected, loud nature of fireworks can trigger a dog’s anxiety, even setting them into “flight mode.” They may panic, attempt to run or tremble in fear. In other words, they’re totally vulnerable.
How To Enjoy The Fourth With Your Pooch
There are some simple things you can do to make your pet feel more secure and safe throughout the fireworks show.
- Turn on white noise. White noise machines have been saving cranky babies and sleep deprived, over-worked adults for decades. Now, it’s your dog’s turn. Turn on the fan, plug in a white noise machine or even put on a rerun of Lassie for your pooch. It’s time to turn up the “normal” noises and (hopefully) turn down the booming of the fireworks. White noise can help mask the outside world for your pet.
- Secure your house and yard. Don’t leave it up to chance. Walk your yard and your home to make sure it’s secure—that there are no open windows or doors, that your fence is secure and that there are no ways for your dog to escape. You need to do this to avoid your dog wanting to flee the scene when the noise sets in.
- Give them their safe space. Place your dog where they feel most safe and secure, whether it’s your bed, their crate or heck, even in the dark closet.
- Send them away for the evening. If you just know fireworks will be an issue—say you live near a show or your dog is naturally skittish—see if a friend can take your dog for the evening. It may be worth the drive to know your dog is going to be in a less noisy environment.
- Consider a doggie swaddle. Yup, they make swaddles for dogs! The same way swaddles can help humans feel secure and safe, they can work for a dog, too. But take note: make sure it works for your pet first. Try it on your pooch far in advance, so you’re not attempting it for the first time on the Fourth.
- Stay by their side. Let them know you’re there for them and that they are not alone but kicking up your feet (and paws) and enjoying an evening in. While it may not work perfectly, it certainly won’t make things worse.
Remember, what works for one doggie won’t necessarily work for another (they’re dogs, not robots!). You may have to do some pre-fireworks experimentation to help steer your dogs through the anxiety of the booms. To learn more about how you can help your dog with anxiety, check out this comprehensive guide from Your Dog Advisor. And, if you have a trick up your sleeve that we haven’t heard yet, please share with our community—we’re all ears!