Fireworks are colorful, beautiful, and awe-inspiring. But for most dogs, they’re absolutely terrifying.
Think about it — loud noises and bright lights occurring without warning and often while their human best friends in the entire world leave them home alone? It’s no wonder our four-legged friends get major anxiety.
Before you celebrate, here are nine ways to keep your pet safe and minimize noise anxiety.
1. Going to a fireworks show? Maybe don’t bring your doggo.
Yes, your dog loves hamburgers and grassy fields, but the rest of the night is dark, unfamiliar, and filled with strangers. And that’s before the fireworks start. Don’t let your human guilt get in the way of their canine comfort.
2. If you know your dog has noise anxiety, do them a solid and stay home.
When your dog is scared, they will look to you not only for comfort but to know how to react or behave. If you’re not there, they’ll have one more thing to worry about. Consider staying in or asking a trusted friend or dog-sitter to come by.
3. Before the fireworks, take your dog on a nice long walk.
A walk before sundown may be the only time your pet is willing to go outside all night. Plus a nice stroll will tucker them out, leaving little energy to put toward their anxiety.
4. When it comes to food and water: feed and fill.
Nervous dogs may avoid eating, so make sure they get a good meal earlier in the day. However, nervous dogs tend to be on the thirsty side, so keep the water bowl filled and at the ready.
5. Create a safe space for your special furry snowflake.
Find an interior room or space without windows to ride out the fireworks show. Make sure they have food and water, their favorite blankets, and if they’re crate or kennel trained, bring that too. If you can’t get away from the noise, try playing soft music or a white noise machine.
6. Give your dog a snug hug … with fabric.
Like swaddling does for infants, snug shirts or vests apply consistent comforting pressure around your dog’s belly and torso, which can ease anxiety. Buy these products at the pet store or make your own out of a bandage or scarf. (See these adorable illustrations and instructions from Lili Chin.)
7. Distraction is a another great tool to — SQUIRREL!
Since your dogs can’t sit and mindlessly refresh Twitter, a new bone, puzzle toy, or favorite game might be just what they need to get through a stressful night.
8. Tags: You’re it.
Even dogs who aren’t prone to running away could get scared enough to bolt during fireworks. Make sure your dog is wearing its collar and tags and that your doors and yard are secure.
9. Be the friend you’d want to have when you’re scared.
Offer kind vibes, head pats, peanut butter, lots of snuggles, and no pressure to come out from under the bed.
Fireworks only happen a handful of times each year. With a little preparation, you can get through them together.
Be supportive, loving, and generous with your affection.
Basically, be like your dog.