Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Take your dog out for their final potty break before it gets dark
Once it’s dark, fireworks start! Taking your dog outside during fireworks can be scary, and also increases the likelihood that they’ll get startled and try to escape. If you have to take your dog out to go potty after dark, make sure they are wearing a leash for added safety – even in a fenced yard!
Provide plenty of exercise during the day
Tiring out your dog before dark will help to prevent restlessness, and make your dog more likely to rest during an otherwise stressful time. A really good way to get your dog some exercise before dark is by using a flirt pole. This allows your dog to sprint, chase, and hunt a toy. It provides plenty of exercise, and also lowers stress.
If they take anxiety medication, give it in advance
Some dogs may benefit from taking an anti-anxiety medication to help alleviate their fear of sounds. Talk to your vet about introducing a prescription medication or natural supplement for your dog. If your dog takes any sort of medication for their fear of sounds, talk to your veterinarian about the best time to give your dog their medication. It is best to have their medication set in before the sound starts!
Provide your dog a safe space
For some dogs this is their crate, others a closed-off room, and for some it’s with you on the couch. Helping your dog feel comfortable during this scary time will help them feel better about fireworks in the future, and help them know that they have somewhere safe to hide.
Calming classical music
Play calming classical music in your dog’s safe space to help soothe their anxiety, and also help block some of the noise. Playlists such as Through a Dog's Ear or the iCalm Portable Speaker are specifically designed for our canine friends.
Fan, white noise, or TV on outside of their safe space
Blocking the loud and startling sound of fireworks can help your dog feel more comfortable. Running a fan or white noise machine outside of your dog’s safe space will help block the noise of fireworks, while still allowing them to hear their calming classical music playing within their safe space. Putting on a TV show can help to mask loud and startling sounds.
Provide your dog plenty of items to keep them occupied, and lower stress levels during stressful times. Some great ways dogs lower stress are:
-Foraging: Hide yummy treats around the house and let your dog use their nose to find them! Some ideas for yummy treats are boiled chicken, ground turkey, scrambled eggs, and small pieces of hot dogs.
-Shredding: Fill any soft cardboard or paper material with yummy treats, and let your dog destroy the item to get the food. Some good items for your dog to shred are folded toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls, paper bags, and cardboard egg cartons. Help him destroy this at first if he struggles!
-Chewing: Give your pup a safe, digestible chew treat, such as a no-hide chew or Himalayan chew.
-Licking: Satisfy your dog’s need to lick by stuffing a KONG Extreme Dog Toy with with cream cheese, braunschweiger, peanut butter, or wet food. You can freeze it to last longer! If your dog has a sensitive tummy, you can mix these items with their regular dog food.
Comfort your dog
If it’s possible, plan a night-in with your pup so they’re not alone during fireworks. Making your dog feel safe during fireworks can help teach them that fireworks are safe, and may even reduce their fear of fireworks in the future!