Tips & Advice

Fireworks and Dogs

Most humans will probably feel comfortable around fireworks. And if you love being in the spotlight or counting down to Christmas or a New Year, then fireworks won’t be a bother to you at all. But your fur buddy may not react to the fireworks the same way you will.

Some get really scared, others become very nervous and irate, while some others may become really aggressive. Only a few dogs actually feel comfortable with fireworks.

Dogs connect with the world with their eyes, nose, and ears. And while you think a dog should naturally react to fireworks the way they react to thunder or other phenomena with sights and sounds, they actually don’t. Fireworks are usually at ground level, unlike thunder and lightning, and are more vibrant with accompanying booming sounds, burning smells, and flashes.

In the U.S, for instance, many humans who have dogs refer to 4th of July as the most terrible day for their canines. In fact, by July 3rd, most veterinarians would have recorded the highest number of drug sales as pet owners make visits to buy drugs that would calm their dogs when the fireworks begin.

Moreover, an unguarded and healthy dog may run away from its owner’s apartment and get lost in the woods, in a bid to be miles away from the 4th of July fireworks. A call to a local dog shelter at that time may be met with a ‘no more room’ reply as many local dog shelters record having shelters filled with lost dogs all through the day.

The only dogs that remain unmoved during a fireworks display are hunting dogs. This is because these ones have been desensitized and would have gotten used to smells and sounds of gunpowder and gunfire sounds.

Since you are now aware that most dogs don’t like fireworks, whenever you find out that a display is imminent, like the 4th of July, you must take the right steps and plan ahead of the day to ensure that your dog is safe all through.
Important ways to do that is to observe your canine closely, while you place a proper means of identification on him so that in the event that he runs away and gets lost, he would be found easily.

Here are a few tips to keep your dog calm during a fireworks display:

Plan

By now you should know when a fireworks display is likely to happen. Almost every celebration in the United States comes with fireworks including the 4th of July.

You can make arrangements to have the dog kept at a location where the fireworks aren’t so loud. It could be a friend’s place, a daycare for dogs, or a relative’s home. Ensure the dog has familiarized properly with its new location or that could be another issue on its own.

To get the dog accustomed to the new place, you can allow him to visit the proposed location a couple of times before the fireworks day.

Have a Home Prepared

If tip #1 doesn’t work, then you should get a dog crate or a kennel for the dog to stay in. You should also get a sitter or a friend to stay with the dog if you will not be at home. Dogs need good company on such days.

Try Some Acclimatization

One way to plan a hitch-free fireworks display will be to allow him to get used to the sounds. It is simple! Three to four months before the day, you can just play a few recorded sounds of real fireworks. You can play the sounds loudly especially before he plays, eats, takes a walk, or gets some affection. By doing this, you would have conditioned his hearing to the sound. You should combine this tip with some other tips for good results.

Use a Thunder shirt or Medication

Before you use a thunder shirt or some medication, you must ensure that the dog is calm enough while sedating him or her. In an agitated state, especially if the fireworks have already started, the tools you employ may not be effective.

So, it is advisable to use the tools before a fireworks display and when he or she is in a calm state. As a rule, tools are only effective when used in conjunction with the canine’s instincts.

Communicate

If you’ll be around with the canine during the display or at least someone will, either one of you should maintain a level of communication with the dog. There should be calming messages to the dog about not being worried and relaxed through the sounds and sights.

You should also note that, although humans establish communication with words, canines establish communication with energy. So they typically look up to a trusted leader to guide them on how to behave under such circumstances.

If you are not concerned or jumping around because of the sights and sounds, he won’t. You should also try to expend any excess energy by tiring the dog out with long walks that will calm his nerves.

Remember not to make the dog feel like he’s missing out as you would do with a child. What your dog wants to know is that he can trust you enough not to expose him to a case where he is triggered to take flight negatively.

When all is done and the last ember of fireworks dies out, you would have established a stronger bond with your dog because he or she would have learned to trust you more. Although we can’t really say how your dog responds in gratitude, we can tell you for free that he will be glad you were with him through thick and thin.

Now that you know when a fireworks display is likely to occur, you should get to the drawing board and map out how you hope to give your canine a hassle-free experience. You have a better understanding now with the tips we’ve shared. It’s up to you to apply them to keep your dog calm during fireworks.

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