We love celebrating the Fourth of July, but the dog is scared of fireworks. He freaks out and I don't know what to do. Help!
Summertime often means fireworks, and that's a popular time for dog owners to seek help with their pet's sensitivity to loud noises.
Does my dog fear fireworks?
If your dog is having trouble coping with loud noises like fireworks, he'll often display the following behaviors:
- Trembling and shaking
- Clinging to owners
- Barking excessively
- Cowering or hiding behind furniture
- Trying to run away
- Soiling the house
- Pacing and panting
- Refusing to eat
What can I do to help my dog when he hears fireworks?
- Be prepared. A few days before you know there will be a fireworks display in your town, set up a comfortable hiding place where your dog can feel safe.
- Wrap your dog in a Comfort Zone Calming Vest a few hours before you think fireworks will start. The vest produces a swaddling-like effect by offering your dog constant, gentle pressure to relieve stress.
- Dogs often pick up on their owner’s stress, so if possible, try to ignore his fearful behavior.
- Try to refrain from comforting your dog too much as this may increase his stress behavior by rewarding and encouraging the behavior.
- Make sure all doors are closed and pet doors are secure. You don't want him running away out of fear.
- Provide distractions like favorite toys or a new chewy bone while the fireworks are occurring.
- Try not to leave your pets alone during the fireworks. They'll be more relaxed when they have a familiar person with them during this time.
- Above all, do not punish your dog for firework-related "bad" behaviors. He can't help it, and punishing him will only make him more stressed and fearful.