I was going to wait until closer to July 4th to write about this, since most pets run away around that time of year more than any other. But with Memorial Day weekend upon us—not to mention my crazy neighbors that look for any excuse to set off fireworks—I figured there was no better time than the present.
Over the years, Emma has gone from ignoring fireworks as a puppy to being absolutely terrified as an adult dog. In the last few years, though, she’s gotten much better in dealing with the loud sounds. However, she’s far from ignoring them, as she once did.
Unlike hunting dogs, most dogs have not been desensitized to loud noises. Most likely, your canine companion will not be a fan of the fireworks and will need some extra comforting, as well.
When dogs hear fireworks, they experience internally something similar to what we do when we are surprised by a sudden loud noise—a rush of adrenaline and increase in heart rate. Now, as humans, we are quick to realize the sudden noise is nothing to worry about. But dogs don’t grasp that same concept.
Whether this is the first time or the hundredth time your dog will be exposed to fireworks, here are a few things that will help keep her calm and safe during the celebrations:
- Exercise your dog earlier in the day. Go for long walks and give her extra play time. That way, she will be tired and in a calmer state when the fireworks begin.
- This is a no-brainer but keep your dog inside during the fireworks. And make sure you or another human is there to offer comfort. Dogs should not be alone during fireworks. If it’s hot out, crank up the AC.
- Create a safe space. Sometimes, dogs will want to hide under the bed or curl up in their crate when they are afraid. Give them access to small, cozy places and put a blanket or shirt that you wore earlier in the day next to them, so they have your scent close. A chew toy is also a good way to keep them busy and distracted.
- Stay calm. If your dog is anything like mine during fireworks, she will probably pant, pace and whine. I know that if I hold Emma in my arms, it helps her calm down quicker. During this time, I’ll play white noise on the Sonos with the volume up to drown out the fireworks. This combo works best for Emma.
- Be sure your dog is wearing current ID tags and is microchipped in case she gets spooked and runs off unexpectedly. That way, if anyone finds her, you’ll be sure to get a call as to her location.
Hopefully, your neighbors aren’t like mine and won’t set off too many fireworks this weekend! With all the dogs living in my neighborhood, you would think they would be more considerate to those little canine ears, right?!
Do you do anything special to help your pet get through the fireworks? I’d love to hear about it.
Hope everyone has a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend!