Fireworks Galore!

Fireworks-And-Dogs

Dear Murphy, one of my favorite things about July 4th are the beautiful fireworks. However, my dog is terrified of the loud sounds and flashing lights. How do I make him feel more comfortable during when the fireworks are going off?

Sincerely,

Proud American

Dear Proud American:

While humans love fireworks, the loud and unpredictable sounds can be quite terrifying for us canines. However, there are things that you can do to help make us feel more calm!

  1. Desensitization
    1. Help your furry friend get used to the sounds by finding a video or recording of fireworks. Play the recording at a low volume and pair the sounds with something he/she enjoys (meals, play time, or cuddle time)
    2. Slowly begin raising the volume of the recording over a period of several days and continue pairing the sounds with positive associations.
    3. If your dog shows signs of nervousness/fearfulness – lower the volume to a level he/she is comfortable with and continue the process again.
    4. Repeat this process over several days until he/she can hear the sounds of fireworks at a decent volume and not be afraid.
  2. Prepare Your House
    1. Keep lights on – this will help your dog feel more secure rather then being in a dark room.
    2. Soften the noise by closing the curtains.
    3. Play familiar soothing sounds from the radio or TV. Be sure not to make the volume too loud that it becomes bothersome.
    4. Make the room cozy and comfortable – place familiar pillows, toys and bedding in various locations.
  3. Confine Your Pet
    1. Half an hour to an hour before the fireworks – place your pet in a confined room or in his/her crate. Cover the crate with a blanket (make sure he/she is comfortable and it doesn’t get too hot. You want to ensure that he/she can breathe without any trouble).
  4. Keep an Eye on Your Pet
    1. Watch your pet and check on him/her before and after the fireworks.
    2. Make sure your pet has sufficient food and hydration.
  5. Purchase a ThunderShirt (www.thundershirt.com)
    1. ThunderShirts are a great source for dog anxiety and nervousness! ThunderShirts apply a consistent and gentle pressure, which has an amazing calming effect on dogs. It is highly recommended by Veterinarians and are great for a variety of scenarios: storms, separation anxiety, travel and more!
    2. ThunderShirts are a great alternative for those who don’t want to medicate their dogs for anxiety.

Sincerely,

Murphy

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