By Kelley Kombrinck
With many areas in the US opening back up after the year-long pandemic, scores of people will be venturing back outside to enjoy the warm weather and beautiful sunshine that July brings, and bringing their beloved pets with them. For you and your dog this potentially means a Summer full of backyard barbecues, pool parties, garage sales, long walks at twilight, frisbee fetching…
We all have seen what the booming, combustive sounds of fireworks can do to the nerves of even the bravest and fiercest of dogs. They cower, whine, hide, bark, shake and breathe heavily. They are, unfortunately, not privy to our understanding of celebratory explosions and so, to them, it just sounds (and looks) like the world is coming to an explosive end around them. The noise and lights trigger their fight-or-flight response and can put them in states of very distressing anxiety. No one wants to see their dog suffer like this but there is no way to turn off the fireworks that inevitably begin popping off in early July and will continue past the fourth well into the month, and even throughout the late Summer and early Fall. Thankfully, there are some ways that we can try to mitigate some of the discomfort of “Fireworks Season” for our four-legged family members.
Make Sure They Have Their ID
The first step in making sure your dog is as safe as possible, in any given situation, is to have proper identification for them. In addition to getting them registered and licensed according to your state’s regulations, you should also ensure that there is current owner, address, and phone information on their collar. Also, if possible, have them microchipped with a GPS enabled chip. If they do manage to get themselves lost or separated from you, this will give anyone who finds them the best chance to get them reunited with you as quickly as possible.
Acquaint Them with the Sounds of the Season
Another possible way to help your dog through the most intense part of Fireworks Season (right before and after July 4th being the worst) is to try and familiarize them gently with the sounds of fireworks displays. Begin a couple weeks before you expect people to start setting off their fireworks. At a low enough level for your dog not to be disturbed by them, play some video or audio of fireworks, firecrackers, and other associated sounds. Sit with them some of the time, petting them, showing them, everything is safe and ok, even with those sounds going on. This may not completely cure their anxiety, but it could help to ease their nerves some when those loud bangs and pops start going off outside.
Take Them for A Nice Walk Before the Big Show Begins
If you expect a particular evening (again, July Fourth is usually going to be the big one) to be fireworks heavy, try to take your dog out for a walk before that all begins. Letting them burn off some energy, getting them a little tired-out enjoying an activity they love with their person can put your dog in a more tranquil state when you return home.
Try to Mask the Sound of Fireworks
Another way you can try to give your special little pup some relief from the stress of fireworks is by playing something consistently soothing to counteract the noise. White noise, rain sounds, wind through trees, even soft music (some dogs really love music) can help keep your dog from being hypyerfocused on the loud, disturbing noises outside.
Take Them Somewhere With Less Noise
While this option is not available to everyone, the best way to help your dog through the worst of Fireworks Season is to take them out of it as completely as possible. Maybe your relative lives in a neighborhood where they just don’t really do fireworks, or your friend has offered you their secluded cabin at the lake for the Summer. If you can, try and utilize this to get your furry friend to a less stressful environment, at least for the loudest nights.
Stay in and Comfort Them
While all of the above suggestions might help to alleviate some of your dog’s distress during Summer fireworks, the simple truth is that many dogs are going to have to suffer through some very anxious evenings. If you can, stay in and sit with your special friend, petting them, hugging them, singing, or speaking to them softly and sweetly. Let them know you’re there with them and that everything is fine. They trust you more than anyone or anything else, and your love and attention and comfort will help get them through those beautiful, but explosive Summer nights.
For more articles on keeping your dog safe and happy, visit us over on the Pet Stop blog page!