This year’s July 4th celebrations may not be as raucous as years past, but there should still be tons of fireworks across July 4th weekend. Fireworks can be fun and exciting, but for many people, they’re just a loud annoyance. And for some dogs, fireworks can be torturous. Certain dog breeds are more sensitive to noise, and any dog can develop noise phobia.
To protect your best canine friend this Fourth of July, here are some steps you can take to lower their stress level and comfort them during any firework festivities. The warning signs are pretty clear (shivering, whimpering, hiding, etc.), so if you see your dog starting to panic, here’s what to do.
Tire Out Your Dog, Feed Them Well
Many dogs react poorly to thunderstorms and fireworks. While it’s hard to predict exactly when a thunderstorm is rolling in, you usually know when to expect fireworks. If you can, spend time early on July 4th exercising with your dog. Walks, runs, fetch, whatever it is, get active with your dog so they’re tired by the time the fireworks start. Keeping your dog busy may tire both of you out, but an exhausted pup will sleep more soundly.
And just like humans have comfort foods, plenty of meals can help calm a dog’s anxiety as well. If you can, put together a hearty, healthy meal for your furry friend before the sun sets and the show starts.
Create a Comfortable Environment
One of the keys to keeping your dog feeling safe is to actively create a safe space for them. There are a few companies that develop stress-relieving dog houses, but they tend to be very expensive. Instead, you can use any room in your house, preferably one that’s partially soundproofed. A basement works well, but you can hang curtains over the windows of any room to get some sound dulled. Bring your dog in, play some relaxing sounds to block the fireworks, and soothe your pup.
Here, you can also try to keep your dog distracted and happy, that way they won’t get startled by the loud noises outside. If you can stay home, comfort your dog as much as possible. Have chew toys and treats on hand, as well as all the energy you can muster. If you’re going out, leave the white noise in the background and a comfy bed in your safe room.
Try a Thundershirt
The Thundershirt has become a staple for owners of anxious animals and can help comfort your pets through July 4th. Thundershirts work on dogs in the same way that swaddling cloths work on babies, gently applying pressure across their body to help them feel safe. The original Thundershirt goes for just under $50, but it’s not terribly difficult to make your own.
In fact, you don’t even need much material. You can craft a homemade thundershirt from an Ace bandage, an old t-shirt, or any spare fabric. While it may not be incredibly stylish, most dogs prefer function over fashion when it comes to thundershirts.