Is your dog afraid of fireworks? Imagine you hear loud explosion sounds nearby, but you have no idea where they’re coming from. You run outside, check to see if something exploded, but nothing. And there it goes again, the earth shakes, it’s so loud and you can’t figure out what it is….
THIS is how your dog feels when he hears fireworks. Not only is his hearing much more keen than ours, but he has no idea what a firework is and why we would be exploding them. The unknown is scary for dogs and people!
We all look forward to the firework shows that come with celebrating our Nations Birthday, 4th of July and even during the Memorial and Labor Day weekend celebrations. The explosions of colors are exciting and beautiful for us, but can be confusing and very scary for your dog.
Dogs get confused and scared when they hear the loud noises of fireworks, so many times they try to get away from the unknown and end up lost. Animal shelters see a huge increase of dogs that have run away due to the loud fireworks. Dogs and fireworks anxiety is a real thing and it’s important for us as dog parents to help our pups through this season on stress.
Our first foster dog, Silla, was tremendously afraid of thunder, I’m sure she hates the fireworks too! The first time we had a thunderstorm during the time we had her, she ran under my desk to hide. She was shaking, pacing from room to room, we felt so sorry for her that we just couldn’t do anything to calm her down. I finally just sat next to her, holding her until the storm passed. I know her adopters tried the ThunderShirt with some success. But every dog is different, so you will have to try different options with your dog to see what he responds to best.
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What Can I Give My Dog for Fireworks Anxiety? I prefer natural remedies over prescriptions, but depending on your dogs level of firework anxiety, you may want to talk to your vet. Here are the natural options I recommend trying:
This is one time of the year I recommend NOT taking your dog for a walk. If you must take your dog outside during the fireworks, use a collar that he can not slip out of. If your dog is scared, he can wiggle and work is way out of a normal flat collar. Use a training collar, such as a martingale collar, or prong collar and keep your dog on a short leash. Never use a retractable leash. And remember, it’s not just the firework display at 9:30 that is going to scare your dog. It’s your neighbors blowing off the unexpected fireworks that will scare your pup too! If your dog does run away, use our LOST DOG poster template.
If this is your first 4th of July with your puppy or dog, please be careful. You may think your dog will be okay with the fireworks, but your dog may have a different idea. You don’t want to take the chance of bringing your dog outside to watch the fireworks and then he runs away!
Remember, check your yard for any debris. Even if you don’t personally light any fireworks, the residue can end up in your yard from neighbors and such. I’ve read stories about dogs getting very sick and even dying from eating remnants of fireworks.
You love your dog, he is your family and you'd do anything for him, right? Then you owe it to him to learn his language.
P.S. Today marks another special day for our household, July 4th was the birthday the shelter gave our adopted dog, Ginger. Now, I’m sure it’s not her real birthday, as she was a dropped off as a stray, so they don’t know her background before 6 months old. But we decided to keep it her birthday as it’s easy to remember!
P.S.S. If you have any great tips that work for you and your dog, please comment below and share so others can help their dogs that have fireworks anxiety.
Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, two dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... were she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.