If your dog is anything like Athena, fireworks are both exciting and dreadful. There is nothing like loud booms to set off our little guard dog into a tizzy that can't be tamed. The house is under attack, and her home must be defended. Loud noises do not typically set off Athena, but fireworks tend to be her pet peeve. Each year, our mission has been to find ways to help her out during the end of June and beginning of July. Her main issue is the illegal fireworks. I never thought I would be upset to hear fireworks on a weeknight until I had a dog that becomes overly stressed with each emanating loud boom set off in our seemingly peaceful residential neighborhood. While I fully love celebrating America's birthday and enjoy a good firework show, I hope people can realize that fireworks on a nightly basis are traumatic for our furry friends, and that isn't even mentioning what it does for our veterans.
Here are some top ways to handle a dog that is afraid of fireworks or gets fired up.
#1 Ensure that your dog's tags are up to date
Your tags should have a current number to contact, and having your dog registered in your county will prevent any hefty fines. Another investment that I highly recommend is microchipping. These are often included in puppy packages or available for about 25-50$ depending on location and current offers. It would also be beneficial to ensure they cannot escape from your yard as a preventative measure.
# 2 Avoid Firework Shows
We know how much Athena loves the lake. If she can visualize the fireworks, she does not bark (it could be that she's removed from the household's protector mode). However, if your dog is fearful, you should avoid areas where firework shows are occurring. This brings me to the next tip.
#3 Provide Comfort
Some dogs find comfort in their kennel (primarily if you have worked with them for kennel training). Dark rooms that are reminiscent of caves with music playing can also be beneficial for providing soothing atmospheres. Interestingly enough, dogs enjoy reggae, soft rock, and classical music in a stressful environment. "Through a Dog's Ear" can have calming effects as well. Keep low, even, soothing tones when talking to your dog and use long, firm, slow strokes when providing pets. Other dogs respond well to distraction, such as treats.
#4 Exhaust Fido
Today has been filled with play! We went to the lake to social distance (everyone did well!) but enjoyed some fun in the sun. We spent 4 hours playing fetch in the water. We even played fetch later in the day. Other options include walking, jogging, and the dog park if you can do so safely. I prefer activities where we are active with Athena because it holds us accountable for staying active and healthy.
# Other Solutions
When all else fails, there are some over the counter medications accessible to help soothe a stressed animal at local pet stores such as Petsmart and Petco that are generally inexpensive options. Other options to try include vests or essential oils. Remember that they are fearful and stressed. Avoid any activities that are going to further this stress. If your dog has a severe phobia or problematic issue with fireworks, considering working with a local trainer and/or talk with your vet about other possible options to reduce stress and anxiety.
Hopefully, this article helps in tonight's celebrations or future celebrations to come. 💕
Happy Birthday, America! 🎆
With much love,
The Pawsitive Writer 🐾