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Time to get proactive for next years craziness on the Fourth of July. Does your dog have firework anxiety? Are you asking the question: My dog is scared of fireworks what can I do? Our dogs get anxiety from fireworks too. Here are a few things we do during firework season.
For many years we lived in Irvine, California where the city is very strict on their firework policy. In general there are very few loud bangs of an M80, whistles of a Piccolo Pete, or screams of a bottle rocket. We already knew Linus had some noise anxiety, but fortunately in our quiet Irvine abode we had very few problems with loud noises even during the fourth of July. That all changed when we moved to a new city.
My Dog Is Scared Of Fireworks What Can I Do?
Firework activity in our neighborhood began ramping up a week before Independence Day. Linus and Raven already began showing firework anxiety. In response we began making preparation for a noise filled fourth of July.
Here are a few tips from our experiences with dogs with firework anxiety on the 4th of July:
1. Tag, Microchip, GPS
If you’re dog gets lost how will you find him? Make sure you have your dog’s collar on nice and snug. While tags and microchips are always important in case your dog is ever lost it’s uber important during the fourth of July. There are also GPS tracking devices for dogs. Unfortunately, we have yet to test any of the GPS systems it may be worth the investment to get your best buddy home safe and sound.
2. Stay Home With Your Dogs
This fourth of July and the days leading up to firework frenzy day we stayed home with our dogs during the evening hours. Staying home helps ease our dog’s anxiety and also allows us to keep an eye on any unusual behavior. Unfortunately for my brother his dog had such severe anxiety he tore off his dew claws trying to scratch through and escape the noise.
3. Exercise Your Dogs
We walked Linus, Kona, and Raven for about an hour before the fireworks began hoping to wear them down before the madness struck. A tired dog is usually a better behaved dog.
4. Thundershirt Dog Anxiety Shirt
We bought Linus a Thundershirt many moons ago and we’ve had mild success. It seems to ease his anxiety ever so slightly, but as anyone who can attend to a dog with anxiety, every little bit helps. This year we also bought a Thundershirt for Raven with the hope that it would ease her anxious behavior. Check out the blog post on ThatMutt.com: Does the Thundershirt Stop Separation Anxiety?
5. White Noise
Honestly, I think this is our biggest saving grace when it comes to the firework season. While the boom of an exploding mortar round can shake the house we can drown 90% of all sounds by cranking up the volume on the television, turning on our indoor A/C unit, and cranking our fans to high.
6. Give Your Dogs A Safe Place
At our house our dog’s safe place is their crates. Throughout a regular day we often find Linus and Raven sleeping in their crates. During firework season the importance of a crate is magnified. When loud noises strike Linus finds more comfort in a dark closet then his crate so I will leave closet doors cracked so he can find his safe place.
We don’t medicate our dogs, but my brother’s dog Georgie has severe anxiety and has been prescribed several different meds for his noise anxiety. We have a list of blog posts below that discuss some different types of medications that may help your dog, but remember to always consult your vet before administering any type of medication to your dog.
Our 4th Of July With Dogs With Anxiety
The combination of fostering, pet sitting, and raising a service dog puppy we totaled 5 dogs in our household this past 4th of July. Two out of five dogs had noise anxiety from the excessive fireworks. The week leading up the the 4th, Linus confined himself to our master closet and had a couple accidents when we left during the evening. Linus never has accidents so this was definitely a case of firework anxiety.
We decided it would be a good idea to follow tip #2 and stay home with our dogs during the firework extravaganza on the fourth of July so we rented a movie, grabbed some popcorn and piled everyone into the master bedroom. We cranked up the volume on the TV, set our AC unit on high, turned on the fans, and dressed our dogs in their thundershirts. While we could still hear fireworks banging and exploding outside our house our two anxious dogs, Linus and Raven both fell asleep cuddled up beside us on our King-sized bed.
We had a successful somewhat dog anxiety free 4th of July.
Other Dogs Scared Of Fireworks
We want to keep our dogs safe during the 4th of July. Our fellow bloggers feel the same way. Check out what our pet blogging friends have to say about what you can do if your dog is scared of fireworks:
- A great tip from ChasingDogTales.com: “Take your dog outside for a bathroom break before the fireworks begin” Read more: Dogs And Fireworks – 14 Strategies To Keep Your Dog Calm
- “Sometimes using anxiety medication is the most humane option available.” Why I Don’t Judge People For Medicating Dogs With Anxiety – PuppyLeaks.com
- Jodi from HeartLikeADog.com reminds us “Pets, frightened by the noise from fireworks have been known to break out windows, or break down doors in their desperation to escape.” Read more: 4th Of July – Lost Pet Prevention Month
- I found this tip very interesting from Carrie at TalesAndTails.com: “Cool, calm places can do wonders. Lilac loved laying in our bathtub, and some theories suggest that the porcelain may help keep static at bay and make dogs feel better.” Read more: Safe And Sound
- This is a good reminder from SugarTheGoldenRetriever.com: “Barbecues and cookouts can be fun for you but pose a potential danger to your pets.” Read more: 4 Pet Friendly Fourth Of July Safety Tips
- Benadryl For Dogs During Fireworks, Does It Work? – Lindsay from ThatMutt.com says: “Yes, if your dog is scared of fireworks or thunder it is OK to give a dose of Benadryl to help calm your dog’s nerves.” ***Always consult your vet before giving your dog any kind of medication.
- I like Carol’s idea to “Rent a room at a hotel: Leave your home and check into a pet-welcoming hotel that is not located near any public firework displays.” I wonder if the hotel would be okay if I brought 5 dogs 🙂 Read more: How to Keep Dogs Calm During Fireworks – FidoseOfReality.com
Make sure and click through to the above blog posts. There are many great tips on how to help you dog if he is scared of fireworks.
So what about you guys? Do you have a dog with noise anxiety? What do you do to help him through the night? How did you dog do on the Fourth of July. Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.
UPDATE: We were recently sent a new product that we’re hoping will help Raven this year with her firework anxiety. Native Pet sent us Native Pet Calm – Dog Calming Chews. We’re going to test them out this year and report back to you.
Top Picks For Our Puppies
- BEST DOG CHEW
We Like: Beef Collagen Sticks - All of our pups love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Collagen Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
- BEST PUPPY TOY
We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
- BEST DOG TREATS
We Like: Crazy Dog Train-Me Treats - We use these as our high-value treats for our guide dog puppies.
- BEST FRESH DOG FOOD
We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.
Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.