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As the scent of barbecue fills the air and fireworks light up the night sky, the 4th of July is a joyous time across the United States. Our dogs, however, will often run for cover from the sound of the first firecracker. But fear not, dog parents — we’re here to help you turn a holiday that may be frightening for your pup into a more dog-friendly one. Read on for our personal tips and tricks for 4th of July pet safety and how to keep dogs calm during fireworks. With a little preparation, you can make this Independence Day and the ones that follow a safe and peaceful one for your pup.
Before we explore the solutions, it's helpful to understand why fireworks and dogs don't mix well. By having a clearer understanding, pawrents can respond better to their dog’s needs and foster an environment of comfort and safety for everyone.
Fireworks, while a fun spectacle for us humans, often terrify dogs. Our beloved canines are lucky to have an acute sense of hearing, but this makes them particularly sensitive to loud and sudden noises. It also begs the question: do fireworks hurt dogs’ ears? The answer is yes, they can!
Dogs can hear more than twice the number of frequencies as humans. They can also pick up sound up to four times further away. With such a powerful sense of hearing, loud noises like fireworks can be painful for dogs. As a result, the unexpected, intense noise can cause physical discomfort.
Fear and stress are also major concerns, as these can have long-term health impacts on your pup, leading to possible behavioral issues if not addressed. Certain breeds are more susceptible to noise sensitivity than others, and if they have a nervous temperament, they may become extra anxious when exposed to loud noises like fireworks.
Fireworks might cause dogs to try a Harry Houdini-style escape act. Frightened by the loud noises and bright lights, dogs may bolt, and potentially get lost. For this reason, taking your pup to a fireworks display is not advisable.
Instead, keeping them indoors and under supervision is a much safer bet. It might also be a good time to introduce a crate to provide your pup with a safe space that helps calm them down. Make sure your dog is also collared and microchipped so that if they do escape, you have a far better chance of finding them!
If you find yourself with a lost dog on your hands, don't panic and act quickly. Contact your local veterinary clinic, shelter, and animal control agency to see if anyone has turned in your dog. Put up posters with your dog's photo and contact information, and if you can, your reward offer. This will provide some extra incentive for people to keep an eye out for your pet.
In this section, we’ll share our tips on how to comfort a dog scared of fireworks and what you can do to create a safe space for your pup.
Who doesn't love their own cozy retreat? For your dog, this can be a game changer during the 4th of July celebrations. Consider setting up a comfy room or their favorite crate — away from the distressing noise of fireworks. If they start getting anxious, they'll have somewhere to retreat to for the night.
Adding a dash of festive fun to your pet’s play area with 4 of July-themed toys is a delightful way for them to join in on the celebrations. Here are a few inspired ideas:
Another helpful trick is sound masking. You can muffle the explosive noises with some calming music, the lull of a loud fan, or even a white noise machine. These simple tips can help your pet feel calm and safe while the fireworks are going on outside.
Importantly, before the fireworks celebrations begin, make sure your pet can't escape by reinforcing doors and windows and checking your fences for any potential gaps. What’s more, ensure all pet ID tags are updated with the latest contact information beforehand in case the worst does happen.
Even for us humans, physical exercise can reduce our overall anxiety and stress levels. It’s no different for dogs! Before the fireworks begin, take your pet for a long walk, play with them in the garden, or teach them some new tricks — anything to tire them out. It’s important to consider that fireworks in the area can be unpredictable around the 4th of July, so get as much physical activity out of them the day before. If you can't get out that day, there are plenty of ways to exercise your dog at home too. With enough physical activity, your pet will be too tired to notice all the noise and commotion outside during the evening fireworks.
Mental stimulation and distraction are also some of the best home remedies for dogs scared of fireworks! Get out your puzzle toys and interactive feeders, or start a scent game using treats hidden around the house. Playtime with your pet will help to keep their mind off the loud noises and bright lights outside.
Dogs too have their own unique quirks and behaviors when it comes to displaying fear and anxiety. This is why a personal touch is so important when helping your pup through stressful situations. In this section, we'll tell you how to recognize signs of fear and anxiety in your pet and also share some calming aids that can be helpful for more anxious pups.
Your pup can't tell you in words when they're feeling anxious, but they will show signs of fear and anxiety through their body language and behavior. Learning how to read your dog's body language is key when it comes to understanding their emotional state. Some common signs of fear or anxiety in dogs can include trembling, pacing, panting, hiding, or excessive drooling.
However, each pup is unique, and your pet might have other physical and behavioral signs that suggest they’re feeling anxious. Take note of your pup's behavior and watch out for any changes that could be a sign something is wrong in their emotional world.
Calming aids are your secret weapon against dog stress! From anxiety vests to natural supplements, there's a variety of them on the market. But remember to check in with your vet for a better understanding of your pup's needs. Here are a few potential stress-busters:
Remember, while the 4th of July is a day of joy and celebration, it can be a scary time for dogs. With the right preparation, you can learn how to keep your dogs calm during fireworks on Independence Day.
One way to ensure your pup doesn’t miss out on the celebrations is with a little pampering from our professional groomers. A spaw day right at home will help put your dog in a more relaxed state when the fireworks and evening festivities kick off.
Book an appointment with Barkbus today and let your pup enjoy the holiday too. Happy 4th of July!