July 4th is often a time of family, BBQs, and fireworks so of course you want to include your dog in the festivities as well. As tempting as that is, 4th of July activities can be hard for some dogs. Many dogs have adverse reactions to the loud sounds, they can start to shake, bark, hide under furniture, or even worse, run away. Not only is this stressful for your dog, but it can also be a very stressful time for you if you’re worrying about your fur baby! So, to make this holiday as happy and safe as possible, we’ve put together the following list of 7 safe ways to celebrate the 4th of July with your best friend.
1. Give him plenty of exercise the day of the fireworks.
If your pooch is tired, he may be less distressed by the sound and commotion of all the festivities.
2. Resist the urge to take your dog to a fireworks display.
Don’t assume he likes fireworks just because he doesn’t act afraid. Remember, dogs hearing is so much more sensitive than human hearing. Some dogs don’t bark or cry when they are upset—so watch for excessive yawning and panting that can also signify distress. By the time you realize how upsetting the fireworks are for your dog, it may be too hard to escape if you are away from home.
3. Consider having him spend the day inside or visiting a friend.
If you are having a party complete with fireworks, you may want to keep your dog in the house to minimize his exposure to the noise and flashes. Or, if you have a friend who is having a quieter night, see if your dog could stay there for a low stress holiday.
4. Provide your dog with a safe place to “hide.”
If the fireworks cause your dog stress, make sure he has a safe place to go to find comfort. For some dogs this is a doggie bed in a corner. Others feel safer in a crate or kennel box. Wherever his “safe place” is, encourage him to go there if he shows signs of distress.
5. Distract him.
If you are at home, keep the television or radio on. Or play his favorite indoor games. Resist the temptation to coddle your dog, which can reinforce his fearful behavior. Distraction is the best way to counter his fears. Act as if nothing is different. Dogs pick up on our fears, so if you are calm, that will be helpful. Reward your dog for calm behavior with treats or play.
6. Try a canine anxiety wrap.
The key to successful use of an anxiety wrap is to start using it before the fireworks or celebrations begin. Your dog needs to be in a calm state before the noise starts. You may also want to try out the wrap in advance, as some dogs respond positively on the first use, while others need 2-3 uses to realize benefits.
7. Take him for his “duty” walk before the festivities start.
Walk your dog or take him out to do his business at dusk and then again after the fireworks are over. Avoid taking him out during the noisiest time of the night.
How does your dog react to fireworks? Have you had success in helping him through it? Please share your experiences below!