Fireworks make the 1rst of January and the 5th of July the busiest days of the year for animal shelters because dogs that are sound phobic will do anything to escape the sound of fireworks.
Escaping causes many dogs to get lost, hit by cars, or traumatized, but owners can prepare to minimize their dog’s scary experience.
For dogs, it must seem like suddenly they are in a war zone, with unexplained loud noises and chaos. Even if the sound is miles away, a dog’s astute hearing picks it up. The dog’s fearful reaction can come as a surprise; as one year, the dog will be fine, but the next, it will be terrified. To avoid the trauma of a lost or dead dog, double-check to make sure your dog cannot escape, use supplements and calming products and a Thundershirt to minimize your dog’s fear and be proactive with specialty training designed to change your dog’s emotions.
Training to minimize the dog’s fear can begin any time of year, but the more time you have to work on the issue before all the scary noises start, the better off you will be. This training requires using desensitization, counter conditioning, and classical condition to change your dog’s emotions. If you have not initiated this training well before the fireworks season, you can still make things easier with medications, supplements, and other calming products. Check with your veterinarian on which products may be appropriate for your dog.
Products that make fireworks easier
Supplements are not your only option. You can choose to have your dog wear a Thundershirt. This product puts pressure on the dog’s body, which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system aids in calming the dog.
In addition to supplements and using an anxiety wrap, check the security of doors, gates, and fences. Check for rotting wood or holes in the fence, gaps between the fence and the ground, and make sure latches on gates and doors are in good working order. A scared dog that is desperate to get away from a scary sound will take advantage of any weakness in fences, gates, or doors. Most people choose to have the dog inside with doors and windows closed when there may be scary sounds. A room that does not have an exterior wall is best. Having a fan and TV or radio playing will provide white noise to mask the scary sounds.
So the big event is here, and your dog is scared, what do you do? Your dog needs you to be its brick. Firmly hold your dog. Laugh, smile, sing a song, show your dog you calm and happy and yes, if your dog will eat treats, break them out and toss your dog treats.
You don’t have to lose your dog due to fireworks. Be proactive by checking the environment, administering supplements, and being ready to support your dog at this scary time.