It is not uncommon for a dog in Wilmington to be scared of loud noises such as fireworks and thunderstorms. There are several things you can do to help your pet be calm during these times. Fireworks happen every year, usually around the 4th of July and they are loud! Many dogs will show fear by hiding, whining, shaking or seeming just down right uncomfortable.
This article is designed to help you combat those fears and have a more calm dog during those fireworks.
Ways to Help When Your Dog’s Scared of Fireworks in Wilmington, DE
When it comes to helping when your dog is scared of fireworks, there are multiple things you can do before the time of the fireworks and while they’re actually occurring. Below are the different ways you can help prepare your dog for the occasion so they can be as comfortable and relaxed as possible.
How to Prepare Before the Fireworks
The first thing to do is to be prepared. Your dog has shown signs in the past that fireworks are not his thing so don’t wait until he becomes anxious or afraid. As fireworks start he could have a full blown panic attack, which you want to prevent. If you know there is going to be a problem, attack it head on with specific strategies to combat what is to come.
Here are some ways you can help a dog who’s scared of fireworks before they occur:
Speak to a Vet
First, talk to your veterinarian in Wilmington, DE, behaviorist or animal trainer about the fact that your dog is scared of fireworks and you need help addressing it. They are wonderful sources at providing tools that can help your dog.
Desensitization to Loud Noises
Play noises at a low level around your dog and get him used to the noise. Let him get comfortable with being around the noise for awhile and gradually increase the volume. By doing this, he will be more accustomed to louder noises and may eventually be desensitized to fireworks in a distance.
Teach Your Dog to be Calm
It sounds easier said than done, but it works. You teach your dog to remain calm and relaxed in certain situations and they get a treat or reward. If you successfully teach your dog to be calm, you can use this trick for days when there will be fireworks.
Preparing Your Dog for Firework Day
Now that you know some of the tactics you can use to help prepare your dog for firework day, it’s important to know the things you can do the day of to help ensure the best experience for your pet when the fireworks begin.
Below are some ways you can help your dog if they’re scared of fireworks on the actual day:
Go for a Long Walk
First, make sure you take your dog for a long walk in Wilmington in the afternoon and get all his energy out. This can help him be more tired before the fireworks start and it helps decrease his energy and agitation levels.
Keep Your Dog Inside During the Fireworks
Keep your dog indoors. Taking them out would open up the potential for them to panic, slip their collar or pull their leash out of your hands and escape. They could then hurt themselves in their panic to escape, get lost or even something more serious like running across a road and being hit by a car. It’s a much better idea to keep them safely inside all night.
Keep the Curtains Closed and Provide Background Noise
Fireworks involve bright flashing lights, which add to the stimulation and fear. By closing your curtains and eliminating the bright flashing lights it will help your dog be more calm and secure. Begin some background noise or relaxing music. There are CDs and downloads that claim to really help calm anxious dogs as well as dogs that are suffering from any kind of noise phobia specifically.
Other alternatives would be to turn the TV or radio on. You can also have some background white noise as well. This might be the dishwasher or the washing machine running. It could also be turning the radio on to play static.
You want any background noise to be sounds they are used to, and while you want to use them to help mask and drown out the fireworks, you don’t want to play them too loud as that might in itself cause anxiety and fear in the dog. It should be something he is already used to.
Provide a Safe Place
If you have a crate your dog likes to use, put him in it and cover the top with blankets or towels. This will further drown out the noise and any flashing lights that might seep in. Only do this if they are used to the crate.
You can also allow him to hide under the bed or in an interior room that is not near a window. Anywhere that is least likely to have noise. Turn the TV on for him and hang out and show him it’s time to relax. Comfort him as much as you can. Talk to him in a gentle tone and tell him it’s going to be okay.
Help Keep Your Dog Distracted
The next thing you can do if your dog is scared of fireworks is distract him with toys and treats. It’s hard for him to whine and complain if he is chewing on his favorite bone or treat. Play with him. Anything to engage his brain on what is going on in the room regarding food or toys rather than what is going on with the loud noises outside.
Try a puzzle or a frozen treat to keep his attention. Engage in an activity that takes his time and focus.
Highly popular on the market, a thundershirt is a snug, tight fitting shirt that gently provides pressure over your dog’s body. It produces a calming effect and many dog breeds in Wilmington use it for anxiety, stress and fireworks.
Give Your Dog (Veterinarian Approved) Medication to Help Him Relax
Finally, if all the above fails you might think of medicating your dog during stressful times such as fireworks. There are several different types of medications that are designed to help calm your dog. Some dogs that suffer from extreme anxiety simply need a little more help to overcome their fears.
Before giving your dog any type of medication, it’s extremely important to get approval from your veterinarian in Wilmington on what medication to give him as well as the dosage.
Talk to Your Vet in Wilmington, DE for More Advice if Your Dog’s Scared of Fireworks
All of the things mentioned above can help take your dog’s mind off the fireworks and the noises that are going on. If you’ve got the noise dulled because the curtains are closed, if you’ve got some other background music playing and you combine these strategies with a task that causes them to focus on a reward, they can help ensure the best possible outcome for your pet’s behavior during the fireworks.
If you have any questions about anything mentioned here, or if you’re looking for additional advice on how to help when your dog’s scared of fireworks, contact our team at Wilmington Animal Hospital by calling us at (302) 762-2694 or scheduling an appointment. Our veterinarians and team are more than happy to work with you on developing the best plan for your dog so that they will be as calm as possible during the fireworks event.