Help! My Dog is Afraid of Fireworks – 5 Safe Ways to Reduce Pet Anxiety
Enough people are afraid of loud noises; it’s no surprise that our furry friends are too. If your dog is one of the many, many pets who panic around a firework show, you are not alone. I remember as a child my neighbor’s dog ran away, miles down the road, during a big block party with sparklers and fireworks. It took days to locate him again. Even my own dogs are nervous around the big noises, crowds, and excited screams from children. I never give them a chance to run away, but they are very clearly anxious and unhappy.
How does your dog react to a fireworks display? Unless he is deaf, it’s likely that he exhibits signs of stress and anxiety ranging from mild panting to full-on panic attack. Keep a close eye out for excessively aggressive or fearful behaviors. A tale tucked in between his legs, extreme shaking and panting are all cues that your pup is terrified of the celebration around him.
As a pet owner, what can you do to reduce your dog’s anxiety as the firework show approaches? It’s up to you to keep your dog calm and happy, and if your furry friend is especially anxious around loud noises, consider leaving it at home. Why expose your pup to stress when you don’t have to?
If the event is unavoidable, or there are fireworks happening in your neighborhood (thanks neighbors!), here are five safe ways to help your dog reduce stress and anxiety during the experience.
1. Anxiety Soothing Dog Treats
Did you know that CBD infused Paw-Treats not only reduce doggy inflammation but may also reduce stress levels? Just like in humans, where CBD is a well-established anti-anxiety compound, CBD also works in animals. Derived from hemp plants, the CBD found in Paw-Treats is a safe and effective way to help reduce stress, even related to loud noises. Experts theorize that CBD may interact with the endocannabinoid system to temporarily boost serotonin levels. It’s a handy tool to have in your toolbox. Start using it a few days before the event for optimum effectiveness.
2. Thunder Shirts
Another effective way to reduce pet anxiety is utilizing a thunder coat. A thunder shirt, so named because of its ability to calm dogs during a thunderstorm, is like a firm but gentle hug on the animal’s body. It’s giving your pup a constant cuddle when he needs it most. There are a few brands designed explicitly for this purpose, Thunder Shirt is one. In a pinch, you can easily use a children’s shirt for the same purpose. The shirt needs to fit comfortably, but tightly to recreate the comforting hug.
3. Exercise and Eat Beforehand
Before the big event, make sure you’ve fed and watered your dog. If the show starts and anxieties reach fever pitch, your dog may lose his appetite quickly. You should also take a good long walk beforehand as well. A big walk, a full belly, and a CBD Paw-Treat is the perfect way to go into the fireworks show with a tired and happy puppy.
4. Plan Ahead
As I mentioned earlier, it’s best to leave your dog at home if possible. If the fireworks are happening around your house, and the noises are unavoidable, consider making alternative arrangements. Can a friend or family member dog-sit your puppy until the show is over? Not only will you have a better time at the event, because you won’t be worried about your anxious dog, but your dog will remain oblivious to what’s going on. Fear and anxiety can have long-lasting effects on animals, and it’s always best to avoid it when possible,
5. Create a Safe Space
If you are traveling to the event in a vehicle or staying at home to watch from your backyard, consider what makes your dog feel safe. Bring these along, and set them up before the loud noises begin. Some dogs, if they are crate trained, feel safest in their kennel. Others have a favorite bed. Buy your doggy a special chew toy or bone, to keep him occupied during the event.
I already know that my dogs hate loud noises, and react poorly to fireworks. So I do my best to keep them away from these situations. When it’s unavoidable, I strive to reduce their anxieties as much as possible with the above suggestions. Are they still a little nervous? Yes, but they don’t bolt away from me, and they seem much happier after the event wraps up.