fireworks & dogs
12-30-222 mins read
A few tips to prepare you & your dog for the fireworks this New Year's Eve.
Dogs with Anxiety

The day after New Year's Eve is usually chaotic for animal shelters and humane societies across the country. With the fireworks and general shenanigans that go along with our national holiday there’s plenty of opportunities for dogs to get in harm’s way – and potential motivation for them to escape too.

Even if your K9 doesn’t necessarily have storm anxiety or noise sensitivity – and is conditioned to gunfire – they can still get stressed during the loud and haphazard noise of fireworks, the bright lights and the barrage of the boom-boom-boom.

Below are a few tips from our own experience to help prepare.

Tips For Dogs & Fireworks

Understand what they’re experiencing

You are anticipating the fireworks, but a dog’s acute senses makes him that much more sensitive to the all-of-a-sudden, magnified sounds that come out of nowhere. Some fireworks produce strong odors that may also heighten that anxiety. Just be aware that if your dog is spooked, he’ll get a rush of adrenaline and stress hormones.

Lead them to their safe place

If you’ve crate trained your dog correctly, he should feel most secure in his den; that’s his safe place. Be sure he’s in his comfortable place, preferably in the middle of the house, to wait it out when instinct tells him to seek cover. Place it in a spot that is easily accessible and away from windows. Put their favorite toys and blankets inside. Drape towels or blankets over the kennel windows to enhance the “den setting.” The dog will eventually see it as a comfort zone to hunker down in the sounds hit. 

Properly expose them to various sounds

This is really for the dog owner with a puppy, but exposing your dog to loud noises and recordings at an early age will oftentimes leave him unfazed the rest of his life. If it’s too late for that sometimes practicing with loud noises – gunshots, even recorded firework sounds – leading up to the holiday can lower his sensitivity. Make sure to associate a treat with those loud noises too, like food or a retrieve.

Don’t leave them unattended or uncrated

If you know your dog panics around loud sounds, thunder or fireworks, plan accordingly. Leaving them at home alone and not crated – especially outside – sets them up to try to escape, do damage to themselves, or to your home. If you have left the house, be sure the windows are closed. We also suggest turning the TV on loud, or placing a fan nearby, to provide a white noise effect and muffle the frightening noises.

Speak with your vet

Always look to the expert for the best advice. If your dog has had a severe reaction in the past they may recommend a mild sedative – and some people even use Melatonin or Benadryl (though, fair warning: they do have the reverse effect on some dogs).

Use proper ID tags

Things happen; your dog runs away because he’s scared, or even goes off looking for the mark. Follow the old Boy Scout motto so that if the worse happens, you can find him. If he’s not already chipped, at least make sure you’ve got updated ID tags secured to the collar.

Stay calm and be a leader

Dogs feed off of your emotional state and he’ll be looking to you for reassurance that there is no real danger. Understand that he needs that from you – and simple things like giving a reward, or exercising him for a bit, can help.

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