As we celebrate Memorial Day and the spirit of remembrance, it’s important to remember that fireworks are often a part of these festivities. While they are visually stunning for us, they can be incredibly distressing for our furry friends. We’ve done a few posts about our Corgi, KC, she is 4 years old, and she is terrified of fireworks, so I thought this was an appropriate post as we enter the summer season and offer a few ideas to help your dog cope.
Understanding Why Dogs Fear Fireworks:
Dogs’ fear of fireworks stems from their noise sensitivity, the unpredictable nature of fireworks, past negative experiences, and a lack of familiarity. By understanding these factors, we can better address their fears and provide the necessary support.
Signs of Firework Fear in Dogs:
Keep an eye out for physical signs such as trembling, panting, and pacing, as well as behavioral changes like hiding or excessive barking. These signs indicate that your dog is experiencing fear or anxiety during fireworks displays.
Steps to Help Dogs Cope with Firework Fear:
If you have crate trained your dog, this is the best place for them, it’s their safe space, so this is where they should be during any fireworks display they could possibly hear. It’s also a good idea to place a blanket over the crate as well. If you haven’t crate trained, find a comfortable indoor space where your dog can retreat and feel safe.
Close curtains or blinds to minimize the visual stimuli, and put on music, maybe a little louder than you would normally to help mask the unexpected noises of the fireworks.
If your dog will be with you, engage them in enjoyable activities, such as playing with interactive toys or practicing obedience training, to divert their attention from the fireworks.
If possible beforehand, gradually expose your dog to recorded fireworks sounds, starting at low volume and gradually increasing over time, to desensitize them to the noise.
Use positive reinforcement techniques and rewards to create positive associations with the sound of fireworks.
There are also several types of calming chews available for dogs that can help reduce anxiety. Here are a few examples of what ingredients are available in various “anxiety treats”:
- CBD Calming Chews: These chews contain cannabidiol (CBD), a compound derived from hemp plants known for its potential calming effects on dogs.
- L-Theanine Chews: L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that promotes relaxation and helps reduce stress and anxiety in dogs.
- Melatonin Chews: Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness. Melatonin chews can help calm anxious dogs and promote a sense of relaxation.
- Chamomile and Valerian Root Chews: Chamomile and valerian root have natural calming properties and can be found in chewable form to help dogs relax.
- Calming Herbal Blend Chews: These chews often contain a combination of herbs such as lavender, passionflower, and lemon balm, known for their calming and soothing effects on dogs.
We have used melatonin chews with KC and have been pleased with the results, however, we strongly recommend you consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new supplement to your pup’s routin
When fireworks are about to start or thunderstorms are in the area, we also wrap KC in a Thundershirt. The combination of the Thundershirt and melatatonin chews has helped tremendously with her anxiety to fireworks and other noises.
As we honor Memorial Day and reflect on the sacrifices made, let’s not forget the well-being of our canine companions during fireworks displays. By understanding why dogs fear fireworks and implementing strategies to keep them calm, we can make these celebrations less distressing for them. Remember to create a safe environment, use positive distractions, consult professionals when needed, and consider products that promote a sense of calm for your pup. With your support, your furry friends can face fireworks displays with confidence and find comfort in your presence during celebrations where fireworks are common.