I love my dog, but she's not exactly cool and calm, even at the best of times.
Just saying the word "walk" sends her into a tizzy. And she goes absolutely ballistic during fireworks or thunderstorms.
If your dog is the same way, you'll appreciate these tips to calm anxious pets during noisy events of all sorts.
These tips are good for loud parties and storms, but they really come in handy on the Fourth of July.
1. Make a safe place
If you know your dog will react badly to loud noises, build a safe room or area where they can enjoy the show without hurting themselves (or making a mess of your living room).
Dogs generally prefer a small place when they're upset, so if they have a kennel or room of their own that's ideal.
If you don't mind, some dogs will even like to snuggle up in a small space, like the bathtub, with toys and blankets until the noises stop.
2. Tire them out
Even if your dog is upset by the lights and noise, they'll act much more relaxed if they've had a long day.
On a holiday when you know there will be fireworks, treat your dog to a nice long walk, or play fetch with them while the fireworks are popping, and they won't have the energy to get into any trouble.
3. Practice makes perfect
This tip takes some time, but it works. Playing YouTube videos of fireworks can help your dog get familiar with the sound.
You'll need a lot of practice before they stop reacting badly, but playing with them and giving treats while the sounds play will train your dog to associate fireworks with fun, just like we do.
4. Keep your pet distracted
A noisy fireworks show is a great opportunity to introduce some homemade dog treats, toys, or a treat-dispensing puzzle that will keep your dog occupied. Even a game of fetch will give Fido something to do besides barking at the window, and help him to calm down.
5. Be a good role model
Like Cesar Milan says, you need to be the pack leader for your dog, and teach them how to act in this situation by demonstrating good behavior. If you react badly when your dog starts barking, it will just encourage them to do the same.
Stay calm, cool and collected. Just give your dog some positive encouragement during the noise and they'll follow your lead.
6. Look into medication or other products
If your dog is especially anxious, or nothing you do seems to help them cope with the noise, it might be time to try a different approach.
DIY Thundershirt to help relieve anxiety this new year. (Saw this on FB; it actually works--for my dogs at least)🐱🐶🎉 pic.twitter.com/okaRxG9dqA— Gelo of PAWS (@GeloOfPAWS) December 27, 2015
While they're already pretty affordable, you can actually make your own relaxing dog jacket with this handy guide. If you do rely on sedatives, remember to administer them before the show starts, otherwise they won't do much good.
7. Sidestep the problem
Who says your dog has to hear that scary fireworks show anyways?
If you have friends or family who won't be near a loud show, ask if they'll take care of your pooch that night. Just remember to bring along toys, or something else to help your dog feel comfortable in the new place.
Otherwise, they'll just feel anxious for a whole different reason!
Share this list if your dog is scared of fireworks! And here's even more helpful advice: