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How to keep your dog safe during summer fireworks

What can we do to help our pets deal with Summer Festivities?

I first learned about how unpleasant, and at times dangerous, fireworks could be for pets, when my lab mix Boo was a year old.  While I was enjoying a spectacular display in the yard I found Boo on the floor inside having a panic induced seizure.  From that year on we also made sure that we gave Boo a doggy sedative in anticipation of Fourth of July and any big storm.

scared cat, cat hiding under bed, pets and fireworks, pets and thunderstorm, dogs and july 4th. dogs and fireworks
Scared-y cat hiding under the bed!

Are fireworks scary for dogs?

What may be fun for the two-leggeds can be terrifying for the four leggeds. My friend's cat once hid under her bed for two days after a loud display at the neighbors house.   

Watch your pet as signs of anxiety can show in different ways.  Dogs may start panting, shaking and breathing heavily.  They can run to their crate or try to hide.  In some cases, a dog that is usually very mild mannered will snap at their owner even if their normally favorite person tries to soothe them.

When a dog is panicked they can behave out of the norm, so treat your pup with caution and care.

What to do if you have a new pet and there are fireworks?

1. If you just adopted a pet, introduce them to fireworks slowly, maybe play them a video or recording to see their reaction.  Even sparklers can bring reactions in some dogs.

2. Keep your pets inside and try to time their walks during quieter moments. 

3. Create a safe space 

dog in crate, creating safe space for dogs, dogs and fireworks, dog and July forth, keeping pets safe during fireworks

How do you create a safe cosy spot for your dog during fireworks or thunderstorms?

1. Get some blankets, their favorite toys and create a safe spot.  It could be under the bed or in the closet or in a crate.

3. Make sure your pets have access to a hiding place and that it’s extra comfortable for them during fireworks.

4. Try not to confine them to a place they didn’t choose, even if you think it's quieter, this could lead to more anxiety.  People often think crate training is cruel but dogs often love them.

How do you get your dog to love his crate? 

Keep the door to the crate open, place some of your pups favorite things in it, feed him in it and watch what happens. He may choose it when he's scared or even when he just wants a time-out and some quiet time to himself.  

For some animals, like Boo, who have severe reactions, more aggressive calming techniques may be necessary.

 

thunder shirt for dogs, calming shirt for dogs, keeping dog calm during fireworks

What's the best calming clothing for dogs?

One thing many experts recommend are ThunderShirts, which are available for dogs and cats at pet stores and online.

The effect of it is like swaddling a baby. It’s a calming effect on the body. The good news is that it doesn't have any side effects.  They are easy to use and unlike medication, have an immediate effect. 

Leaving the TV on or having soothing music can help drown out the noise.  Also just having some background noise can help drown out the loud noise.

What to do if you can't calm your pet during fireworks?

If all else fails and your pet is hiding, pacing, refusing to go outside or use refusing to use a litter box?... AFTER the fireworks or a thunderstorm talk to your vet about medication.

Never forget that your vet is a great source of information and resources. 

hiding dog, dogs and fireworks, keeping dog safe during fireworks

Do all pets react the same to reworks or thunderstorms?

Like humans, not all dogs are the same. Always Consider YOUR pet’s personality. might have kids waving sparklers, and even if your cat goes out during the day, bring it in at night during fireworks season.

Parents know best!  Trust your gut, don't  take a skittish dog to a cookout that might have kids waving sparklers, and even if your cat goes out during the day, bring it in at night during fireworks season

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