Fido have Fireworks Anxiety?
It’s the Fourth of July weekend and for many that means celebrating. Grilling out and roasting s’mores are at the top of the weekend to-do list for many people. For others it can be a time of stress and worry because their dogs get anxious and destructive when the fireworks start going off. Many times, these are the same dogs that are afraid of storms.
Keeping your dog calm during the holiday can be a challenge but there are a few tricks to help them feel more calm and secure.
For the light stressor
Fido might show signs of light stress by panting or pacing so be ready to interpret these subtle signals. A dog with a moderate case of anxiety can likely be helped with a few easy tricks.
For starters, making sure your dog has plenty of exercise earlier in the day can help them cope. This will make them a little more aloof when the festivities start. If your dog has only slight anxiety, this might be enough to keep them calm.
In July, chances are your dog will be inside most of the time anyway, but keep Fido indoors while fireworks are going off. Just being around his people should help him. Human companionship can work wonders for a dog with anxiety.
Having background noise, like music or TV, can help your dog with anxiety too because it will help with keeping them distracted. Give them a frozen Kong with peanut butter to keep them busy too, especially if you can’t stay home with them during the fireworks. If you dog is food motivated, a Kong might keep him totally and completely distracted.
For the moderate stressor
If trying to make your dog comfortable and calm during the Fourth of July can’t be achieved through exercise, companionship, and sensory enrichment, you may need to take it to the next level.
Thunder shirts are great at calming dogs down. They are snug and make your dog feel secure and safe when they might usually feel anxious. They can help with fireworks, storms, and even separation anxiety. This product has been on the market for several years now and many people swear by it.
Bandage wraps are done with the same basic idea of the thundershirt, they’re just the DIY version. You wrap it around Fido and the snugness helps him feel secure. Most people use a simple ace bandage, which you might already have at home. This could be a good thing to try if you don’t have time to get to the store and buy a thunder shirt for Fido or if he shows slight signs of stress and you want to be safe.
For the extreme stressor
Sedatives will calm your dog down, but you should only use them if your dog has incredibly bad anxiety. It should be your absolute last resort. Sedatives can be harmful to some dogs, especially those who are prone to seizures. Talk to your vet before using this kind of measure to keep your dog calm. In rare cases, it is the only option to keeping your dog calm and safe during fireworks
New drugs have hit the market that are supposed to be safer for your dogs. Sileo calms dogs down without sedating them. This drug is relatively new and you should consult your vet about it and ask for more information on the risks and benefits. Some vets are hesitant to prescribe this in fear that owners will overdose their pet, so use caution if this method is necessary.
Not sure if your dog is afraid of fireworks? If this is your dog’s first Fourth of July holiday, or the first holiday with your family, you might not be sure if they are going to be okay during the traditional fireworks display. If they have storm or separation anxiety, there is a good chance they will be afraid when the fireworks start shooting off. It might be a good idea to stay home this year to make sure they are ok. If you can’t do that, just make sure they are safe in their crate where they can’t hurt themselves or anything else in your home. Giving them a frozen Kong with peanut butter if they’re left alone is always a good idea.
We hope you have a happy, safe, and enjoyable holiday!
Try these tips out this year for a more enjoyable holiday weekend with Fido and let us know how it works!