The Fourth of July allows you to celebrate and spend quality time with your loved ones. But before you get carried away with the festivities, keep in mind that it could be a stressful experience for your dogs.
In this article, you’ll find out how to calm dogs from fireworks and prevent anxious, erratic behavior. We’ll be covering the essential preparations for the Fourth of July, safety precautions during the event, and the aftercare needed following the celebration.
Why are dogs afraid of fireworks?
Dogs perceive loud noises, such as fireworks, thunderstorms, and gunshots as threats. These overwhelming sounds can trigger a fight or flight response, causing your dog to show signs of aggressive behavior. As a result, your pets may bark, whine, and pant excessively. In some instances, your dogs may run away and hide, which could cause them to develop an ACL tear.
If this fear isn’t managed properly, it could turn into noise phobia and affect your pet’s quality of life. Dogs with noise phobia may urinate, defecate, drool, tremble, and shake when they hear any type of sound, even if it’s not associated with danger. Consult a veterinarian immediately should you notice any signs of canine noise phobia.
Preparing for the Fourth of July
- Proper ID for dogs
Before the July 4 celebrations, ensure that your dog has a proper ID with updated information, including your name, address, contact numbers, and pet’s name. It must also contain vaccination records and specify your pet’s medical needs. This way, you can easily find your pets if they try to run away.
- Updated microchip for your dogs
Unlike ID tags, a microchip for dogs can’t be tampered with because it’s implanted into their body. This approach provides a reliable and quick way to find lost dogs. During the procedure, a veterinarian uses a long needle to implant the microchip, which is smaller than a rice grain. Usually, the chip is placed between the shoulder blades.
- Desensitize your pets
If you already know that your dog is afraid of loud noises, try to desensitize them to these sounds. First, prepare their favorite treats, then play the sounds of fireworks at a low volume. Offer treats as they listen to fireworks and firecracker sounds from your TV or DVD player. This way, you’re helping them disassociate these noises with dangerous situations.
- Take an updated picture of your dogs
Take a current photo of your dogs that you can show to people in case they try to hide and run away. You can post these pictures on social media or show them to your neighbors.
- Allot a safe space for your pets
Before the 4th of July, make sure that your dogs have their own hiding spot they can retreat to if they feel scared of the fireworks and firecrackers. Set up a quiet space away from windows, so they can’t hear the noises and see the bright flashes from the fireworks. Keep their favorite toys and treats nearby.
- Play with your pets
Maybe you’re still feeling unsure and asking yourself how to comfort your dogs during fireworks displays. One way is by playing with your canine friends before the festivities. Playtime can provide your pets with peace of mind before everyone starts making noise.
What to do during the 4th of July festivities
Below are the ways on how to calm dogs during the Fourth of July celebration:
- Leave your pets inside the house
If you’re going outside for parades, parties, or other gatherings, make sure to leave your pets inside the house. Better yet, hire a pet sitter to ensure dog safety.
- Close windows and curtains
Want to know an effective trick on how to calm your dogs during fireworks displays? Close the windows and curtains to muffle the sounds outside. Keeping the curtains drawn also prevents your pet from seeing any bright lights from the fireworks that could incite panic. Moreover, closing the windows ensures that no firecracker remnants can enter the house, which could potentially harm your dogs.
- Keep dangerous items away from your pets
Since you’re leaving your pets inside the house, it’s important to keep fireworks, sticks, sparklers, knives, skewers, and other dangerous items away from your dogs. Remember to maintain your house’s safety to prevent accidents and common injuries.
- Escape-proof the house
Since dogs tend to run away when they hear loud noises, you’ll need to make your house as escape-proof as possible. Make sure to set up a fence or barrier that won’t cause injuries. But despite putting up barriers for their safety, make sure your pets are still able to freely roam the house.
- Leave them chew toys and treats
Another effective way to keep your dog calm is by giving them chew toys and treats. Sinking their teeth into a toy or treat can keep your dog preoccupied while there are loud noises outside. Make your pets play with interactive toys and puzzles during the celebration to distract them from the overwhelming sounds.
- Play relaxing music
Like humans, animals also find comfort in soothing, classical music. Turn on the TV or the radio and play slow, relaxing tunes. Playing music can help divert their attention from the noises outside.
After the Fourth of July celebrations
- Check for fireworks remnants
It’s crucial to check your house for any harmful debris before letting your dogs play again. Dogs are naturally curious and playful, so they may accidentally pick up and ingest firecracker remnants and contaminants.
- Ensure a safe playing area
Keep your house free of food scraps, such as skewers, napkins, or tissues. These objects could pose a risk to your canine friends, causing gastrointestinal problems. So make sure that their playing area is free from pointy items and harmful debris.
- Consult a veterinarian
Contact a veterinarian immediately if your dog shows signs of anxiety even after the celebrations. For severe conditions, your vet may refer you to a clinical animal behaviorist.Fireworks phobia is common among dogs, especially during events such as the Fourth of July. Help your dog feel safe before, during, and after the festivities. For more tips on canine health, check out the LickSleeve blog.