Fireworks: How to keep your dog calm

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Some dogs aren’t affected at all by the sound and sight of fireworks. Others, unfortunately, find it to be terrifying. Why? The sound of fireworks are different from other natural sounds, which triggers their survival instinct (to run away) and their nervous systems (makes them anxious and afraid). A dog’s ears are much more sensitive than human ears, which means the sounds of loud fireworks are much more intense for your pooch. Some dogs are so terrified that they are simply unable to function during and after a show of fireworks.

So, how can you help your dog when there are fireworks? Depending on your dog’s personality, try the following:

  • Close the doors, windows and draw down curtains to muffle the sounds
  • Create a safe, quiet corner for your dog to stay in, which gives them the impression of a safe den
  • Physical touch is extremely soothing for dogs, and physical contact with your dog will help calm your dog’s anxiety
  • Put some music on to drown the sound of the fireworks
  • Distract your dog with treats and toys
  • Leave the TV to stifle some of the sound
  • Try using a Thundershirt or other anxiety wrap for your dog, it helps calm anxious dogs
  • Talk to your vet about possible options such as Benadryl or other calming pills
  • Act normally during the fireworks, as if they aren’t happening and nothing is different

Starting at a young age, try to desensitize your pup to the sounds of fireworks and loud sounds. Expose them to loud sounds on the TV, take them out near areas where trains are frequently heard. However, if your pup is overly terrified, discontinue this immediately – some pups just have different temperaments and tolerances and your dog may simply be more sensitive than others. At their critical learning periods, ensure your pup is safe and happy and not exposed to any negative experiences. This lays the foundation for your pup to grow into an adult dog that is not scared of fireworks. If it doesn’t work, then you simply have to take extra actions and precautions for your dog to ensure it feels safe and lessen its anxiety. The good news is that many jurisdictions are moving to silent fireworks.

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