We love our dogs, but sometimes they can get on our nerves. Somehow they can learn enough English to recognize the word "walk," and identify the exact sound their treat box makes when we shake it, but whenever they hear fireworks they just assume it's the end of the world. At best you can expect to deal with an anxious dog on the 4th of July, but at worst your pet might tear up your furniture or hurt themselves.
There are a few important things to remember when it comes to fireworks: first, it's totally natural for your dog to be frightened by them. Second, keep your dog's collar and tags on during the show, because they've been known to dash out of people's houses when they're afraid.
Apart from that, follow these 7 steps and your dog will enjoy the fireworks as much as you do this year.
1. Make a safe place
If you know your dog will react badly to loud noises, build a safe place where they can enjoy the show without hurting themselves (or wrecking 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 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 be much more relaxed if they've had a long day. Treat your dog to a nice long walk during the day, or play fetch with them while the fireworks are popping, and they won't have the energy to get into any trouble.
3. Try to acclimatize them
If you're reading this guide a week before the fireworks show, head to the next page for more tips, because this one takes some time. Playing YouTube videos of fireworks can help your dog get familiar with the sound.
You'll need lots of practice before they stop reacting badly, but playing with them and giving treats while the sounds play will train them to associate fireworks with fun, just like we do.
Click the next page for even more tips!
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 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 you need
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. Along with special sedatives and medicines, there are products like "thundershirts" designed to relax anxious dogs.
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 different reason!
Share this list if your dog is scared of fireworks!