Fireworks are a dazzling spectacle that many look forward to during holidays like the Fourth of July. But while humans may enjoy the booming sounds and brilliant bursts of light, these festivities can be a source of great anxiety and fear for our furry companions. Dogs, in particular, are known for their keen hearing and heightened sensitivity to loud noises. The sudden and unpredictable explosions of fireworks can easily overwhelm them, leading to stress and panic.
During fireworks season, the risk of dogs going missing also increases significantly. Frightened by the loud noises and flashing lights, dogs may attempt to escape from their homes or yards in search of safety. The fear-induced state can make them more prone to getting lost, as well as getting into life-endangering accidents. A responsible pet owner must take proactive steps to keep their beloved pups safe and calm during these celebrations.
In this article, PrideBites will walk you through five practical tips to keep your dog safe and calm during fireworks displays.
Create a Safe Space Indoors
Before all else, keep in mind that it’s not a good idea to take your dog to fireworks shows or even keep them outside while these events are ongoing. The loud noises, crowded spaces, and potential hazards present during Fourth of July celebrations and other similar occasions can be overwhelming and even dangerous for your dog, leading to accidents or injuries. Instead, prioritize their safety and well-being by taking them indoors and creating a dedicated safe space for them to rest, away from the fireworks.
Your dog’s safe space should be a quiet and comfortable area, far from the windows and external noise. It could be a spare room, a cozy corner in the house, or even a crate covered with a blanket. You can then make this space even more cozy and inviting by adding familiar items that provide a sense of security. Place your dog’s favorite items, such as personalized puppy blankets and their preferred toys, in the area to make them feel at home. Consider also including an item with your scent, like a worn-out T-shirt, to further reassure them.
Tire Your Pup Out During the Day
Tired dogs are calmer dogs in almost every situation. Before the fireworks begin, it's beneficial to ensure that your pup has had plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation during the day. Engaging in activities that burn off excess energy can help reduce anxiety and restlessness in dogs. Play and physical exercise also encourage your dog’s brain to release more endorphins, which help them relax and promote a greater sense of well-being.
Taking your dog for a long walk or a run earlier in the day is one tried-and-tested way to wear them out physically. Other alternatives include playing fetch or engaging in a tug-of-war-session. In addition to all this physical activity, however, don’t neglect your dog’s need for mental stimulation. Engage your dog in short training exercises or provide them with puzzle toys to play with. These activities will help tire out your dog’s mind as well as their body, redirecting their focus away from the impending fireworks.
Play White Noise, Music, or TV Shows for Dogs
The loud bangs and booms that occur during fireworks shows can be distressing for dogs. To help create a more soothing environment and drown out the noise, consider playing white noise, calming music, or even TV shows designed especially for dogs. These auditory distractions can mask the sounds of fireworks and make your dog a lot calmer when the explosions are happening.
If you’re not sure what kind of audio would be the best fit for your pup, try looking up playlists and programs designed specifically for calming down anxious pets. Your favorite music and video streaming services may already have material curated expressly for this purpose, so it’s just a matter of searching for content you’d like to try and playing it for your dog to see if it works for them.
Close Your Curtains
In addition to loud noises, the sudden bursts of light at fireworks displays can startle dogs and contribute to their anxiety. Closing your curtains or blinds before the festivities begin can help reduce the stress that these flashing lights cause and create a darker, more peaceful environment inside your home.
If your dog's safe space is located near a window, consider covering it with a blanket or sheet in addition to closing the curtains. This additional layer helps fortify the barrier between them and the outside world and can also further muffle any noise coming from outdoors.
Give Them Some Extra TLC
Your presence and reassurance can go a long way in helping your dog feel safe and secure during stressful times. You’ll definitely want to sit with them and show them some extra attention while the fireworks are going on. For instance, gentle petting and cuddling can be incredibly soothing for dogs, as long as you’re mindful of how and where your pup likes to be touched. Some dogs, for instance, like gentle pats or rubs in particular small areas, while others prefer longer strokes or greater pressure.
The way you speak to your dog can also have a significant impact on their anxiety levels. Avoid raising your voice, speaking quickly, or sounding frantic, as it may further escalate their stress. Instead, speak to them in a slow, calm, and soothing tone. This will help signal to your dog that they have nothing to fear from their immediate environment.
Again, as pet owners, it’s our responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of our furry friends during fireworks season. Try the five tips listed above to quell your pup’s anxieties and create a safer and more peaceful environment in the midst of all the frightening light and noise.