Is Your Dog Stressed Over Fireworks?
Updated: Sep 24
While some people celebrate July 4th, some of us are huddled in the house with windows shut, music up loud, and our dogs wrapped in thunder jackets. Let's get real, July 4th straight up sucks for the majority of dog owners. AND it's not just the holiday, its the weeks before and even after. Fireworks going off left and right no real pattern and while it's not only scary for your dogs, it's also the time most dogs end up in shelters.
It's only natural for dogs to freak out over loud, booming noises that come at extremely unexpected times. A 2013 study conducted by the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences found fireworks were the most common trigger for fearful behavior in dogs. Responses included:
There are many ways to help try and comfort your dogs during this hectic time.
1. Just Stay indoors
This one is obvious. The first step to getting away from the fireworks is to not be around them. If your dog doesn't like fireworks, you wouldn't be taking them to a fireworks show. Lock the windows up, turn the TV up and prepare yourself for a night in with your canine BFF. Since the 4th of July is also a time when most dogs end up in shelters, keeping them indoors prevents them from running away out of fear.
2. Just Leave!
Another choice besides staying indoors is just straight up leaving. While this obviously isn't suitable for the weeks that the fireworks commence, maybe consider getting out of town and into the wilderness for a camping trip on the actual holiday and the days prior. If you can't actually leave, another choice is actually finding a pet sitter who lives outside of a heavy fireworks area, even if its a bit of a drive.
3. Pressure Jackets
One of the top known methods for anxiety is Thunder Shirt. They fit snuggly to provide comfort to your dog just like a baby in a swaddle. This same method can be applied by being creative with an ACE bandage shown in the photo below. The key to the method is to have it applied to the torso area.
Medication is always an option for high anxiety dogs because sometimes, this is really the only thing that will calm them down. Your vet should ALWAYS be consulted regarding medication, including anything over the counter. There are a few different options when going down this route. First is pheromones which are available via diffuser, collars, sprays and can relax high-anxiety dogs. Another option is over-the-counter human medications which include melatonin and Benadryl. Both of these calm and relax your pooch but this method would be discussed with your vet to determine the appropriate dosage. Lastly, is prescription medications prescribed by your veterinarian. There's a variety of options that would be determined by your vet to best fit your dog's needs.
Overall, all dogs are different, they all react to things such as fireworks in various ways but the majority of dogs are terrified of them and need help. Be sure to take the necessary precautions this year and assure that you and your dog are comfortable during this holiday.