It’s that time of year again when your dog will be exposed to the frightening sounds of fireworks. While some dogs may not be bothered by fireworks, others can become very scared, try to hide or even flee. As pet owners, it’s our responsibility to keep our pets safe. Here are a few tips and tricks on getting your pet ready for the big bang.
Desensitize your dog.
This process may be easier if you have a brand new puppy, but could also be done with your older dog. With young or older dogs, you will start by getting them used to loud sounds. Always start small and work your way up. Start by clapping hands, stomping feet, hitting pots and pans, then progress to playing sounds of fireworks on your TV or computer, increasing the volume over time. May sure to associate those loud sounds with something good, i.e. a yummy meal or treat, a favourite toy, or lots of attention.
Prepare for the fireworks.
If you know your dog becomes stressed and fearful during fireworks, it’s best to be prepared. Make sure you know when your city or community plan on setting off fireworks. When the day finally comes, make sure to keep your dog inside when the fireworks are planned as you don’t want your dog to panic and try to escape your backyard. It’s best to keep your dog confined to a small area of the house, or if they enjoy and find their kennel a safe place, then kenneling your dog is also an option.
Try playing music, your favourite TV show, fans, or even white noise in the area of your house where you plan on keeping your pet. Make sure to be there for your pet. They may look to you as a safe place and find comfort in being close to you. For those food motivated pups, try cooking a yummy meal, have a favourite chew toy, or some special treats to try to keep your dog distracted when the fireworks start.
Try some calming aids.
Luckily there are a few things out there that have been known to help decrease stress with your pet. From compression shirts, tasty chewable tablets, pheromone collars, diffusers, and room sprays, here are three options you can try for your pet.
- Adaptil – Adaptil is a synthetic form of a natural pheromone that nursing mother dogs produce. This dog-appeasing pheromone helps their puppies feel safe and secure. Adaptil is proven to help calm and comfort dogs in new or challenging situations and help reduce stress. Adaptil comes in 3 different products; a diffuser, collar or spray. The best option for fireworks and other loud noises (i.e. thunderstorms) would be to use the diffuser, which plugs into your wall. You would need to start using it at least 24 hours before the event, but for added support, you could use the room spay in addition to the diffuser.
- Solliquin – Solliquin is a behavioural health supplement in a tasty chewable tablet and soft chew. It’s designed for both dog and cats and helps support normal behaviour and aid in a calming effect. The combination of L-theanine, Magnolia and Phellodendron extracts and whey protein concentrate block the receptors that cause excitement and enhance the release of calming factors. It’s recommended that your dog takes on Solliquin for an initial dose for 30-45 days, so would need to be started at least 30 days before the fireworks are planned. Depending on weight, your dog would get 1-2 tablets/chews per day.
- Thundershirts – The idea behind thundershirts is that it provides a gentle and constant pressure against a dog’s (or cat’s) torso similar to swaddling a baby. It has been used in people for many years to help calm and treat anxiety.
Hopefully, you are more prepared to help your pet deal with the stress and anxiety that can come with fireworks. Just remember that it’s common for dogs to have some level of anxiety when it comes with fireworks, so preparation, distraction and love are always a good idea.
Give us a call if you have any questions!
Written by: Leah Christiansen, Client Care Specialist