Dogs & Fireworks: Helpful Tips
This article is inspired by my doggo Wilbur. He’s a great little guy-- super cuddly, loves his treats, and smiles when he’s really excited. There’s two things that scare him, thunderstorms and fireworks other than that he’s a really happy guy. Did you know that dogs can hear 4 times the distance as humans and they can hear a wider range of sound frequencies? Imagine hearing loud explosions from your house and not knowing where they’re coming from or why. That would be quite frightening. Even though I’d love to be able to explain to Wilbur, “Don’t worry bud, it’s only 4th of July fireworks, it’ll be over soon.” My dog talk isn’t that great so a lot is lost in translation. I’m going to share some tips about how to keep your furry friends safe this 4th of July.
My number one advice is don’t leave your furry friend outside. Even if they listen great off leash or you have a super secure backyard--- dogs can suddenly forget their listening skills or turn into Houdini and bolt from your yard if they hear a firework and it scares them. I have one dog that is super chill and would think fireworks going off in our backyard would be super cool to watch and one dog who would turn off his listening skills and run and hide-- he’ll be on a leash the couple days before the 4th and on the 4th.
My next advice is to try to tire out your doggo during the day. Go on a long walk, play fetch, do some tricks. Our bigger dog Heidi has a great sense of smell and she loves when we hide treats around the house for her to sniff out and find. When dogs have to use their brain to play they tire out even faster. Heidi can play fetch all day long, but hide a few treats around the house and this will put her down for a nap. If your dog is physically and mentally tired by the end of the day, hopefully they’ll be tired and maybe sleep through some of the fireworks. If your dog isn’t sleepy and is still on edge, you can try to give them a long lasting treat to focus on. If you have a kong toy, you can put peanut butter in it. If you want an extra challenge, put the peanut butter kong in the freezer-- the frozen peanut butter will take longer for them to lick out. You can also try antlers or bully sticks. Mr. Wilbur is a popcorn lover-- pop a bag of popcorn and he’ll come running. You can try to give them some small treats here and there to distract them.
If all else fails-- sit next to your furry friend and love them and talk to them. They’ll greatly appreciate any reassurances you can give them. If they seem to be panting a lot, make sure they get enough water to stay hydrated. I know it’s hard to see your doggo uncomfortable and scared -- but just being there for them is really the best thing you can do!
I hope you and your furry friends have a happy and safe Fourth of July!!
Dr. Doug and Jeanette love teaching people about health and wellness. If we haven't covered a topic that you're interested in, feel free to leave a comment and we'd be happy to give you our thoughts!