Tips For Dogs Afraid Of Fireworks
Did you know that more dogs go missing on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year? That’s because many dogs experience anxiety from the sound, smell, and flashes of light from fireworks — causing them to run away from home.
Unfortunately, leaving your dog at home during a firework show doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve escaped the problem, as fireworks are often set off in neighborhoods (usually unwanted) throughout the night. Additionally, even if the fireworks seem distant to you, dogs’ senses are more sensitive than humans’, and fireworks set off even a few blocks away may still cause anxiety.
Not all dogs experience firework anxiety, but unless you’re certain that your furry friend will be fine on July 4th, we’d recommend having some tricks up your sleeve just in case.
How Do I Know If My Dog Is Experiencing Anxiety?
You may be wondering how your dog will react to fireworks on the Fourth of July, especially if you’re a new dog owner or have a puppy that has never been exposed to loud noises. One good indicator that your dog may struggle with fireworks is if they have previously exhibited symptoms of anxiety. Here are the most common indicators of anxiety in dogs:
- Trying to escape
- Destructive behaviors
- Lack of desire to eat and/or drink
Note that your dog may experience one or multiple of these symptoms at once, which is completely normal.
Tips For Managing Your Dog’s Anxiety On Fourth Of July
Plan a long walk before dark: If you’re able to, take your dog on a long walk, for a game of fetch, or to the park before fireworks begin. Your dog will be more willing and able to rest during the fireworks after getting some exercise. Additionally, dogs with severe anxiety may not be willing to go outside during the fireworks, so this gives them a chance to relieve themselves beforehand.
Prepare your house: Once you’re ready to settle in for the night, try closing the blinds and turning on a few lamps (or overhead lights) to minimize any flashes of light from fireworks that may startle your pooch.
Ensure your dog has been fed before fireworks start: Make sure to give your dog dinner and water before the fireworks start. Dogs with anxiety often don’t want any food or water, so it’s important to get them the nutrients they need beforehand.
Give your dog lots of love: Snuggles, pets, hugs, you name it! Attention and affection from you will go a long way.
Keep your dog distracted: Your dog may benefit from some playful distractions, such as a game of tug-of-war. Another idea is to fill and freeze a Kong toy with their favorite PPFC meal topper — that should keep them entertained for at least half an hour!
Create a “safe space” for your dog: Many dogs feel most comfortable in their crate or in their own bed. If all your dog wants to do is lay on their favorite place on the couch under a blanket, don’t force them to move, as that may be their way of trying to relax.
Turn on some white noise: Though it may be impossible to drown out the sound of fireworks completely, putting on some white noise may minimize the effects. Turn up the volume on your tv or radio, or simply turn on a fan — anything helps! At Portland Pet Food Company, we made a Spotify playlist to help your dog relax— hit shuffle, turn the volume up, and enjoy our favorite relaxing tunes!
In addition to the tips mentioned above, your dog may benefit from a dog compression shirt, which acts the same way as a baby swaddle or an adult’s weighted blanket. CBD may also be effective, but we’d recommend consulting with your vet to determine the best dosage and brand for your furry friend. For dogs with more severe anxiety, your vet may recommend alternative medication to keep your pooch relaxed.
At Portland Pet Food Company, we want your dog to thrive! Our fresh, human-grade dog meal pouches are perfect for keeping in the pantry for special occasions, such as the Fourth of July, thanks to their shelf-stable packaging. Plus, the fresh ingredients are full of vitamins and minerals to keep your dog strong after a stressful day!
Haven’t tried our meals yet? Order your first variety pack using code TRYPPFC for 40% off. Once you know your dog loves it, which we know they will, sign up for our dog food toppers subscription and get 10% off EVERY order! Your dog’s health will thank you!