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Is your dog scared of fireworks? Here are some tips to help them.

Happy 4th of July weekend! Nothing more fun than pool parties, grilling and FIREWORKS! It all sounds like a lot of fun until you realize the anxiety the fireworks cause on dogs and other animals. The noise and unpredictability of the fireworks lead animals to go into flight-or-fight which is why many dogs run away and hide when this happens.

So what can you do about it?

1. Don’t burn fireworks

Start by setting an example not to burn fireworks and come up with other fun activities you can do with your family and friends. That way you’re creating a new family tradition that is not taking a toll on the environment and on the animals nearby. In my neighborhood, we started an initiative to take the money we would have spent for fireworks, buy dog food and donate it to the local shelter, this way you are doing something good and helping dogs in your area.

2. Desensitize your dog to noises

If you can, prior to the weekend play firework noises in your house and give your dog treats or play with your dog while this is happening. You can turn the volume up or down depending on how your dog is coping with the situation.

3. Tire your dog

Before the fireworks go off make sure your pet gets as much exercise as possible. Dogs love to exercise so this will make them happy and once tired they won’t have much energy left to be anxious about the fireworks.

4. Provide a safe environment

If you haven’t done that and the party is already cracking outside, don’t worry you can still make the situation easier for your dog. Make sure to bring your dog indoors, close the windows and curtains, play some other loud music to help diffuse the sound of the fireworks and if your dog is relaxed give them a treat or play with them immediately after a firework goes off. If your dog starts whining, pacing barking, or goes hiding, simply ignore them. Allow them to go into a ‘safe place’, something small and dark like a crate usually makes them feel safe.

5. Don’t comfort your dog

Don’t say “It’s OK” or anything to comfort them, because that will reinforce to them that they do have a reason to be scared.

6. Distract your dog

Get your dog a big juicy bone that they love, it takes them a lot of time to eat and chewing will help decrease stress.

7. Be there for them

Last but not least, be there for your dog. Dogs are pack animals and they feel the safest and happiest when you are with them.


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