It goes without saying that dogs and fireworks don’t mix well. As July the fourth approaches it’s a good idea to start thinking of ways to make your best friend more comfortable during the evening hours. Don’t forget that your dog’s hearing can be up to ten times more acute than yours so the loud bangs, whistles and screams that may be fun for you are not at all pleasant for your dog.
And don’t forget that your dog has no idea what’s going on. You know this is all meant to be fun and will be over by midnight but dogs have no facility to anticipate the future. If you can, it’s best to stay with your dog. The fact that you’re there will reassure him and at least give him the feeling that the world he knows is going on as normal.
Here are a few things to try if you have an anxious dog.
1. In an effort to ease YOUR anxiety make sure your dog has his collar and ID tags on . Every year hundreds of frightened dogs escape the mayhem and run as faraway as they can. Make sure that if the worst happens (and we sincerely hope it does n’t) your best friend can be brought home quickly.
2. Prepare; Spend plenty of one-on-one time together before the fireworks begin. Give him plenty of exercise, a strenuous game of catch, a long walk (or run), or an afternoon of tug-o-war. Not only will a tired dog be less anxious but if you have to leave him home while you go see the fireworks he won’t feel quite as much resentment after he’s spent all that time with you. (He may even be grateful for the rest)
3: Make sure he’s been allowed to poop and pee a plenty before nighttime. Do you really want to be out walking your nervous guy after dark?
4: If your dog enjoys bathing (and you’re planning on staying home with him) why not give him a bath before the fireworks start "bursting in air". Most bathrooms are located in the interior of houses so they are more insulated from the outside noise of early fireworks and the sound of the running water and the warm humid air are very relaxing. We recommend Comfy Dog Shampoo with a little Fur Butter massage afterwards and of course a finishing spritz of Calming Aromatherapy Spritzer . It’s also a good idea to use the spritzer on his bed as the essential oil of lavender is very calming for dogs. You never know, if you get him relaxed enough he may sleep through the whole thing (right!)
5: If your dog is not allergic you might also try adding a little cooked plain potato or white rice to his food. Just as with humans the carbohydrates will help your dog feel full and sleepy. Oh and before I forget…I know we usually equate alcohol to relaxation but keep the chardonnay in your glass not his bowl, alcohol is just not good for dogs
6. However it is a great idea to add an all natural herbal remedy to help your guy relax. We recommend Sleepytime Tonic which you can give about 30 minutes before the fireworks begin. It won’t put your dog to sleep but the all natural Bach Flower Essences will help to make him less anxious and more able to deal with the stress of all that noise.
Of course if you have a dog who is terrified of fireworks, to whom the forth of July is a nightmare it would be a good idea to discuss this with your vet.
Just remember that not everyone likes fireworks and your job as pet parent is to make sure that your whole family has the kind of Fourth of July they’ll enjoy.