How To Help Your Fearful Dog Cope With Fireworks SeasonJul 04, 2023
Fireworks are tough on many dogs, whether they're generally fearful or not. What can you do to help your dog get through holidays that involve fireworks? Here are a few approaches:
Strategy #1 For Dealing With Fireworks: Get Out Of Town
When you know ahead of time when fireworks are likely to happen, you might be able to avoid them completely by getting away from urban areas. If you can afford to rent a remote cabin, you could make a vacation of it. But even getting into the car and driving your dog out of town for a few hours might be enough, if most fireworks are restricted to a short timeframe.
Strategy #2 For Dealing With Fireworks: Muffle The Noise
If you can't get away from home to avoid fireworks, keep your dog indoors and do everything you can to muffle or mask outside noises. Shut the windows and doors, and put on the TV, music, white noise, fans, or anything else that won't bother your dog but might help drown out fireworks. It can also help to sit with your dog in a room that doesn't have windows and isn't against any exterior walls. Bathrooms and closets are often favorite hiding places for dogs trying to cope with fireworks.
There are also doggie ear muffs and ear plugs you could look into. Be aware though that you'll need to train your dog to be comfortable wearing these before using them, which will likely take a good amount of time.
Strategy #3 For Dealing With Fireworks: Give Your Dog Something To Do
Giving your dog a high value kong or lickimat can be a good way to keep them busy and divert their attention from fireworks. Since an anxious dog is less likely to be interested in food, I recommend combining food toys with the sound masking strategies above.
Strategy #4 For Dealing With Fireworks: Ask Your Vet About Anti-Anxiety Medication
Many dogs with fear of fireworks or other noise phobias benefit greatly from anti-anxiety medications. Talk to your vet about this if your dog is anxious during fireworks.
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