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If this upcoming 4th of July is the first one that your dog is going to be experiencing, you’re in for a bit of a surprise. The sound of fireworks is not a dog-friendly noise. It’s a loud, threatening sound that dogs aren’t used to and it’s going to cause a lot of fear and anxiety.
If you’re in the United States, these fireworks are probably going to last for a good chunk of the night, and the last thing you want is your dog panicking all night. You should plan ahead to ensure that this isn’t going to be a problem for you.
Here’s a few things you can do to keep your dog calm when the 4th rolls around.
Distract Them with Other Noises and Toys
Fireworks might not be a noise that your dog is familiar with, but you’ve almost certainly gotten them desensitized to your television or radio. Leave one of the those on while the fireworks are going on outside.
Turn it up loud enough so that hopefully it will keep the banging relatively drowned out, to the point where your dog can’t really hear it. It is also a good idea in the weeks leading up to the 4th of July, to start turning up the volume on your TV more than you usually have it so that your dog gets used to things being a little louder than normal.
However, noise from a TV would have to be pretty loud to overshadow the fireworks. As an alternative, you could also get a squeaky toy for your dog to play with during this period to add an extra sound into the mix and help distract them.
Some dogs can become very fixated on certain toys, meaning that toys are a great option for keeping your dog distracted during the fireworks. One great option are these fun food-themed toys, P.L.A.Y.’s American Classic Plush Toys! These have detachable components for hiding treats in which makes them extra enjoyable for your dog.
Plus, the burger, fries and other BBQ favorites are perfect for the 4th of July and will help your dog feel included in the festivities! P.L.A.Y.’s American Classic Plush Toys really are the perfect choice for this particular season. And if you’re not sure about the plush toys, they’ve got many other products which would serve the same purpose.
These Wobble Balls for example are a great distraction for a nervous dog. This toy provides mental and physical stimulation for your dog all while rewarding them with their favorite treats, an any dog is sure to love this enrichment toy with or without fireworks!
Get Them Used to the Sounds of Fireworks
In the same vein of getting them used to loud noises, you could always try and desensitize them to the actual noise of the fireworks themselves, so that you won’t even have to work to drown those sounds out.
Start this as early as you can, maybe a couple of weeks in advance of the 4th of July. Find video or audio online of fireworks being set off. There are some on YouTube for this very purpose.
Don’t overwhelm your dog with it. Maybe just play the videos for about 20 minutes every night and start out with the volume turned down. Gradually build it up day by day so that it doesn’t come as a huge surprise when it gets really loud.
Your dog will still probably freak out a bit while this is going on, but you are entirely in control of how long you play it for and loud you let it be. So, your dog should be able to acclimate to this over time so that when the date rolls around, they’ll be ready for it.
Make Sure They’ve Exercised Already That Day
If your dog has a lot of pent up energy by the time the fireworks start, then they are going to be more likely to react in a bit of a frenzied manner. I would advise against walking your dog during the actual celebration, so if you usually walk them in the evenings, get it in earlier that day.
Try to tire them out if you can. Don’t push them past their limits or anything, but get them doing as much exercise as they are used to and get it done as early in the day so that they’ve expended their daily energy.
If they’re tired out enough, they might even sleep through the whole thing. A good quality dog bed would be helpful in this regard. Take a look at these Lounge Beds we sell, an extremely comfortable and a popular choice for dog-owners. Not only that, but they’re stylish enough to actually look good in your home, they’re 100% machine washable, and they’re made with recycled plastic bottles!
Much like a human, it’s a lot easier for a dog to stay calm when they’re not high-strung. You’ll have to do this alongside preparing them for the noise, but it will definitely be helpful and you won’t have to worry about your dog running around the house in a panic.
Have a Place For Them to Hide
When a dog hears a loud, overwhelming noise that they’re not used to, they tend not to favor wide open spaces such as your living room. Something small and enclosed where they can feel undercover and protected would be better.
And if it’s somewhere that they’re used to being, that can be helpful too. It’s the same principle as when you are moving house and you want to help your dog not panic in their new surroundings. You make their surroundings familiar.
A mesh play tunnel is a good option for providing your dog with a safe space, along with one of these pet teepees which are great for smaller dogs and cats!
While every pet is different, the one thing that a nervous dog is more than likely going to seek comfort in is their human companion. So, you should be prepared for your dog to be running to you once the noise starts.
If that’s what happens then all you really need to do is be close by for them if they start to get too jumpy. If you’re on the couch or in bed and you don’t usually let your dog up on the furniture, maybe make an exception for a time like this.
You could keep the furniture clean protected with a throw blanket such as this useful, soft and stylish one from P.L.A.Y. It’s water resistant and it will keep pet hair away from your couch cushions or bedding!
Keeping your dog calm during the 4th of July fireworks might seem overwhelming, but these helpful tips and products will make it easier than ever before. And remember, it’s just one night!