You love watching beautiful, awe-inspiring fireworks with your friends and family, but have you ever thought about what the loud noises could be doing to your dog? Chances are, they’re back at home, cowering. You want to get them through this stressful time, but you’re not sure how to calm your dog during fireworks. What do you do? We researched to bring you the answer.
To keep your dog calm during fireworks, you should:
- Provide a source of white noise, such as the radio or TV, as these act as a distraction
- Spray a natural scent in the room that relaxes the dog’s nerves
- Give them a favorite toy or treat
- Have a room ready they can retreat to that’s comforting and away from the noise
- Close your curtains and windows so your dog can’t see the fireworks
- Avoid getting worked up yourself
- Stay with your dog and keep them indoors
In this article, we will explain each of the above points in more detail so the next time there’s a fireworks show in your neighborhood, you’ll be able to keep your dog calmer. We’ll even share some bonus tips at the end, so keep reading! You won’t want to miss it.
Tips for Keeping Your Dog Calm During Fireworks
Use White Noise
Boom, boom, boom! Even when indoors, the fireworks are so loud. Your dog freaks out more at each firework set off. There’s got to be something you can do. Indeed, your first method is to try to drown out the noise.
You can do this by turning on the radio or the TV. Don’t crank the volume, as that’s more loud noise that could scare your four-legged friend further. You want the volume just loud enough that the fireworks are hard to hear.
Keep in mind that your dog will rarely stay in one place during a fireworks show. You might want to go from room to room and turn on any radios and TVs you have throughout the house. Now, whichever room they’re in, they can’t hear the fireworks that well.
Infuse Your Home with a Calming, Natural Scent
While you could always buy a pet product made specifically for calming, there are plenty of natural canine aromatherapy options at your disposal as well. Even better, you may already have these products around your house. They include:
- Cherry plum to improve self-control
- Star of Bethlehem for trauma or shock
- Rockrose for panic and terror
- Marjoram for lessening stress
- Lavender for creating more mental clarity
- Vetiver, also good for less stress
- Cypress for calming scattered emotions
- Cedar for controlling panic
- Chamomile for general calming
We’ve tried many aromatherapy options and this one works the best for us. I always make sure that it’s stocked up for 4th of July.
While canine aromatherapy could be what finally gets your dog to chill during fireworks, do know that not all essential oils are safe for them. You never want to use these oils for your dog:
- White thyme
- Juniper wood
Provide Comfort with a Favorite Toy (or Treat)
Your dog might not be much in the mood for playing, but you never know. You could turn on some white noise and use aromatherapy and your pup calms right down. Then, they might feel like snacking or chewing on their favorite rubber toy. You do want to have these options close by should the urge strike. Whatever comforts your dog is what they need right now, so keep that in mind.
Prep a Room Your Dog Can Hide In
Many dogs make a run for it in their panicked state. They’ll try to get as far away from the sound of the fireworks as possible. If you know you’ll have fireworks in your neighborhood, such as on the Fourth of July, then ready a room for your dog ahead of time.
You want to select a room that’s as far away from the source of noise as possible. If every room is equidistant to where the fireworks are emanating, then choose the one with the fewest windows. We’ll talk more about windows in a moment.
Make this room as comforting for your pooch as possible. Take in their favorite items, like a second bed, a blanket, and even a shirt with your scent on it. Some toys and treats are also good to have. If the room has a radio or TV, turn these on. Add some natural canine aromatherapy scents as well. Your dog should want to spend their time here during the fireworks.
Keep Your Curtains and Windows Closed
Okay, so let’s talk more about windows. Besides the distressing noise of the fireworks, your dog also doesn’t like the sight of them. Seeing the fireworks in action can make their sense of fear even more acute.
This one is a simple enough fix. You want to go through each room in your home and close the windows. Considering most fireworks happen during the summertime, you probably already have the windows shut and the air conditioner on anyway.
Further, you also want to close all the blinds and curtains. The less your dog can see of the fireworks, the better.
You’re going to be worried about your dog, especially if this their first ordeal with fireworks. It’s perfectly normal to feel bad for your canine companion, but you can’t let it show. Dogs can pick up on our emotions, good or bad. If you begin behaving like you’re nervous and anxious, you’re only going to make your dog feel more stressed.
Instead, you must try to maintain a cool, upbeat exterior. Smile at your dog, remain chipper and act like everything is fine. This tells your dog that the situation isn’t as bad as it seems.
Don’t Keep Your Dog Outside During Fireworks
Part of owning a dog is missing some fireworks shows. It’s selfish to try to watch the fireworks from your porch or backyard while your dog is inside making themselves crazy with worry. It’s even more selfish to bring your dog out with you, where they’re exposed to the full brunt of the sights and sounds from the fireworks.
You want to stay inside with your dog during the fireworks. It’s within your dog’s best interest, as you can monitor them. Also, you being there with them might be enough to start calming them down.
More Tips for Canines Afraid of Fireworks
Walk Your Dog Before the Fireworks, Never During
One of the best ways to traumatize your dog for the rest of their lives is by walking them during a fireworks show. If you know what time the show will start, then make sure your dog gets out for their nightly walk beforehand. You don’t want to make your pup wait until after the fireworks. Their frazzled nerves could cause them to have an accident indoors.
When dogs are stressed, they will pant and yawn a lot. They’ll also whimper, bark, and try to get away. Some of these signs are more subtle than others. If your dog exhibits any of them, you need to get them inside ASAP, as they’re not comfortable.
Don’t Leave Your Dog Without Their Collar
You may not put a collar on your dog when they’re indoors, and that’s your personal choice. However, we’d caution you to keep the collar on during fireworks events. Your dog can bolt from room to room, and the collar gives you something to grab should they try to run outside.
Make Sure Your Dog Is Microchipped or Has Identifying Tags
According to the American Kennel Club, if there’s any one time of year that more canines will disappear, it’s the Fourth of July. As we’ve said, dogs get extremely panicked at loud noises and will run kind of mindlessly. Should you or anyone else in the home open the front or rear doors during this time, your dog could slip right out.
While keeping a close eye on your dog can prevent them from getting lost, you can never be too careful. You want to make sure your dog has ID tags with their name and address and that these tags are attached to their collar. Some dog owners will even opt to get their four-legged friends microchipped.
Try Exhausting Your Dog Ahead of the Fireworks
While the Fourth of July is filled with beach time and pool parties for many people, you want to make sure you spend at least a few hours with your dog. If you get them tired enough through play, they might not care quite as much about the fireworks later. They just won’t have the energy.
This doesn’t always work, but hey, it’s good to spend the time exercising your dog anyway.
Avoid Scolding Your Dog
When your dog misbehaves, you scold them so they know they did something wrong. You might think that same approach would work when they freak out during fireworks, but it doesn’t. In fact, your yelling will upset them more, often exacerbating their bad behavior.
As mentioned, you want to have a happy demeanor during the fireworks. It will help your dog
When All Else Fails, Consult Your Vet
If your dog is having an especially serious reaction to fireworks, then it might be time to schedule a consultation with your vet. They can assess your dog and prescribe them a calming medication. You can use this during thunderstorms as well as fireworks, putting your pup into a calmer state.
Fireworks are fun for us, but they can be downright traumatic to your dog. By making them a comforting room to hide in, providing white noise and calming scents, and watching your own demeanor, your dog should get through the fireworks just fine. Good luck!