10 Tips to Keep Your Dog Calm Around Fireworks

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fireworksLabor Day is the last hurrah of summer, and most people are going to have picnics and other celebrations with their families. Like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, many of them will be setting off firecrackers, sparklers, and big fireworks displays to brighten the festivities. While it is fun to see glorious fireworks fill the sky with mushrooms of brilliant color, the noise and commotion is often confusing and frightening for our four-footed friends. There are some ways to keep your dog safe and calm while you are celebrating the holiday.

1. Make a Plan Before the Festivities
Many dog owners keep their pets outside. There are probably people who will be setting off small firecrackers and noisemakers, be aware of what is happening in your neighborhood. Bottle rockets often explode into other people’s yards and some thoughtless people may even throw something in your yard to get your dog’s reaction. Scaring someone’s pet is not funny and can cause the dog undue stress. Make sure that you watch for your pet’s safety. Make sure your gates are closed and be wary of people sneaking around your property. Have a flashlight handy and be firm that such pranks will not be tolerated.

2. If Possible, Put Your Dog in the House
It is understandable that some breeds are just too big to bring inside your home. In these cases, you may be able to put them safely in the garage. Just make sure that they have a soft place to lie down and have food and fresh water. If it is possible, the best idea would be to bring your dog inside your house. The booming noise will be minimal from the inside.

3. Let There Be Music!
There is an old adage that music calms the savage beast, and this is also true of your pets. Like people, dogs are often soothed by the gentle flow of music. It also provides a distraction from the outside racket. You can find appropriate music by turning on your television, radio, or iPhone. Your pet will relax in the serenade while the firecrackers blaze outdoors.

4. Hide and Seek
Most animals will instinctively hide when they perceive danger. This may be especially true for the dog who is not used to being indoors. He may hide in a corner, under your bed, or even hunker under your dining room table. If he is comfortable, let him hide. He will probably come out later when he feels more comfortable.

5. Everyone Loves a Security Blanket
Dogs associate warm, soft blankets with the security they felt as a puppy snuggled closely to their mother. Provide your friend with a soft blanket he can lie on while indoors and he will probably sleep for the duration of the fireworks.

6. Close Out the Source
It is also a good idea to keep the outside noises at bay by closing your windows, blinds, and doors. The less your dog sees of flashing lights and hearing thunderous booms, the better. Ask family members and friends to let off firecrackers a safe distance from your house.

7. Treat Your Dog to Comfort
If you are indoors with you dog, give him some of his favorite treats if he gets nervous after a sudden explosive noise outside. He may also enjoy chewing on a favorite toy or doggie bone. Speak to him in a soft, reassuring tone while you give him the treats.

8. A Good Workout
Ask any parent who has an overactive child about the additional calming benefits of exercise. The same principle is true for dogs. If you take him on a brisk walk in late afternoon before all the celebration, he will expend a lot of energy. Therefore, he will have less energy for anxiety and will be more apt to rest calmly.

9. Doggie See, Doggie Do
Dogs are extremely sensitive to their environment and will take cues from how their masters are reacting. In the wild, leaders of the pack were first to sense danger and the rest of the dogs would follow his actions. So if you are calm and speak gently around you dog, he will usually follow your example and stay calm. If you are having guests, try to have the festivities in your yard rather than in the house.

10. Talk to Your Vet
No matter what precautions and techniques you may use, there are still dogs who are nervous by nature. After a good checkup, your vet may be able to prescribe a low-dose tranquilizer to give to your pet as needed. The vet may also suggest herbal remedies and other products that were developed to sooth agitated canines. With these suggestions, both you and your dog will be able to enjoy the celebration of Labor Day.