Who doesn’t love this time of the year? It gets really pretty. People decorate their houses and trees with lights, families get together, everyone spends their time with love and joy. You get to have more free time during these days or quite the opposite it gets even busier.
BUT there is one big BUT, this is the time of the year when it gets really scary for the DOGS.
Is your dog calm and relaxed at all times? Maybe he only gets scared when there are loud noises around? And what about the fireworks?
Our dog’s character and feelings change throughout the years. When our dog Vivi was little she barely barked, when we changed the apartment to a different one she started barking at random noises. She also wasn’t scared of fireworks, but as I was confident that I took her out with us to enjoy them. And of course, she got scared.
What I meant to say is that if we think we know our dogs we could be wrong in many situations. If we know, our dog is good at something that can easily be changed in no time. Therefore, you have to be careful of the made choices for your dog. There can be something that can trigger him in different situations.
Before we get to the important part, how we can protect our dogs and keep them calm during fireworks, let’s check why they get scared of those kinds of things.
1. Why dogs are scared of fireworks?
As I explained everything about dog ears HERE in my previous blog, dogs can hear much better than humans.
Like every other sound we can hear, dogs hear it almost twice as loud. Together with the loud noises, there’s also flashing lights that can trigger them.
We all know that dogs react to whistles because it’s an alarming sound to them. Now imagine 10, 20, 50 whistles together at one place and louder than we can ever make it.
Every unknown sound makes even the calmest dogs wondering where is it coming from? What is that? Is it a threat?
This can only trigger their fight-or-flight mode.
2. How to prepare your dog for firework season?
First, you need to teach your dog how to be relaxed. If you want to have a steady and balanced dog, which is also a happy and healthy dog – work with him. Nothing is ever achieved overnight. You have to be your dog’s gradient and advocate. There’s a lot of training techniques and essentials that can help you to do that. You can check Canine Performance for guidance.
Get your dog used to loud noises. If your dog is not used to loud environments this is one of the things that can work for you. Even people who spend their days in quiet places coming into a noisy environment gets very anxious. So if your dog is not used to it, then don’t expect him to be okay with the loud bombarding that is going outside. Here’s an article that can help you to change your dog’s opinion about the loud noises.
Give your dog a relaxing medicine. If your dog has bad anxiety with fireworks, consult your veterinarian about different medications that you can use to ease his stress. There are stronger and weaker drugs for every occasion and stress level. You can also use natural herbs that can deal with anxiety-like CBD oils. Remember to use any medicine a few days in advance to get the maximums effect of them.
Prepare your dog’s safe place inside. You can even use your bathroom for this one. Use a safe place that is fully isolated from outdoor sounds. Make the place so comfy for your dog that he wouldn’t want to leave it. You can even turn on relaxing music in the background so your dog won’t focus on the sounds outside. Probably the majority of dogs won’t stay there alone without anyone else, but if you have the chance, sit together with him. Or relocate his cage into a safe place a few days before the fireworks hit in, that way he will be accustomed to the new location and he won’t be surprised by it.
3. How to keep your dog calm and safe during the fireworks?
Keep your dog inside. Firework seasons are the busiest time at the shelters. Many dogs run away from their homes because of their anxiety and stress level, when they finally get to a safer place they’re lost. To keep them safe, keep them inside.
Keep your dog in his safe place. It can help your dog with his anxiety if you have created his safe place a few days in advance. Be sure he can’t hear anything that is happening outside.
Use music to hide the sound outside. You can turn your music a little bit louder than you normally do, this can help you to hide or reduce everything that’s going on in the background.
Be sure your dog doesn’t see the actual fireworks. Seeing the bright lights outside the window can trigger your dog the same way as the loud sound. Just as humans can stress about something they’ve seen, dogs also can get stressed about visuals.
Distract him with a long-lasting chew or toy. Distraction can help reduce stress and get his mind off things he shouldn’t be thinking about. Chewing actually automatically reduce stress by releasing endorphins, it also exercises the mind and body.
You can use calming vests. It’s a natural calming solution that helps reduce anxiety in dogs in a drug-free way. It gives constant pressure. Just don’t forget that your dog has to get used to it in advance, because putting on something that he sees for the first time can increase his anxiety level.
Or use your scarf to wrap around your dog. Wrapping your dog correctly can give you the same effect as any other vest or shirt. You can check the example HERE.