The dreaded time of year is upon us. Fireworks going off all day long for what feels like an eternity. Your poor dog is afraid of fireworks, running, hiding, and shaking uncontrollably when he hears the loud boom of fireworks.
Dog fireworks anxiety is so heartbreaking as dog moms and dads, we just want to make it all go away. But you can’t stop the neighbors shooting off fireworks. And you may be wondering “what can I give my dog to calm him down from fireworks“, so let’s dive in…
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What can I give my dog to calm him down from fireworks?
Our first foster dog, Silla, was extremely afraid of thunder and fireworks! She would shake and pace from room to room. I would have to sit next to her, holding her until the storm passed. Her adopters used a 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.
You have many options for calming products. Decide if you want to go with natural remedies or if your dog has severe anxiety over fireworks, then you may want to get prescription medicine.
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 anxiety options I recommend trying:
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10 tips for dogs and fireworks
1. Keep your dog inside the house
The number one best thing to do is to keep your dog inside the house. Because so many dogs get confused and scared when they hear the loud noises of fireworks, they will try to get away and end up lost. Animal shelters see a huge increase of run away dogs the day after firework displays.
Take your dog outside during the day when fireworks are less likely, go for a long walk, go to the dog park, whatever it takes to run burn off all his energy.
Don’t leave your dog outside in the backyard unattended. He may dig under or even jump the fence to try and get away from the loud fireworks.
Recommended reading: My Dog Ran Away! What Should I Do?
2. Keep your windows and doors closed
Closing the windows not only reduces the noise but to ensure your dog can not escape. I’ve heard several stories of dogs jumping out windows, even with the screens in tact.
Also close the blinds or curtains and keep your lights on inside at night so any bright light explosions aren’t as visible to your dog.
3. Leave the TV on or play music
4. Give your dog a special treat
Entertain your dog with a treat such as a peanut butter filled kong or a new chew bone to keep him busy. This also helps desensitize your dog, using positive reinforcement during a time when he is feeling afraid.
Take some time to do some indoor games and training fun.
5. Collar and ID tags
Make sure your dog has his collar and ID tags on. In the event that your dog does get loose, you want to me sure he can find his way back home. This is an excellent time to get a dog tracker with GPS option!
6. Compression vest
The ThunderShirt for dogs was created to help our dogs feel more comfortable. I’ve heard stories both of success and failure. Every dog is different, so you will have to try different options with your dog to see what he responses best to.
7. Calming products
We already talked about different calming products if your dog’s anxiety over fireworks is minor. Essential oils, such as lavender and calming oils can help calm your dog.
There are also calming collars available, which uses pheromone technology. The Pheromone is a scent that a mother dog uses with her puppies, and is said to help dogs with anxiety issues. Adaptil makes several options from collars to sprays, to room diffusers.
If your dogs firework anxiety is severe and the natural products don’t help, then talk with your vet so they can prescribe something stronger.
8. Watch what your dog eats
Celebrating our nation comes hand in hand with parties and picinics. But not all people foods are safe for our dogs. Alcohol, chocolate and other foods can be toxic to your dog.
9. Clean up debris
The day after any firework displays, 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.
10. Be aware of your dogs body language
If this is your first 4th of July with your puppy or dog, please be careful. Don’t assume your dog will be okay with fireworks, every dog and every situation is unique. Watch your dog’s body language for any signs of stress.
Don’t take the chance of bringing your dog outside to watch the fireworks and then he runs away!
Read How to speak to dogs
Taking your dog outside
Please do not take your dog to watch the firework display.
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.
And remember, it’s not just the firework display at 9:30 that is going to scare your dog. It’s the neighbors blowing off the unexpected fireworks that will scare your pup too!
Dog traumatized after fireworks
The fireworks are over, now what do you do for a dog that becomes traumatized after fireworks?
Dogs have a way of picking up on our anxiety, so it’s important for you to stay calm and comfort your dog. Before, during and after the fireworks.
It may take a few hours or maybe even days for your dog to overcome the ordeal of fireworks. So be patient, give him the time and space he needs. Continue using the 10 tips above to help calm your dogs nerves.
P.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.