A guide to fireworks for the anxious doggo
For many people, fireworks have lost their sparkle as their long-term effects on the environment, as well as human and animal health become better understood.
While many municipalities are phasing out fireworks, they are still part of many people’s long-weekend celebrations, which can cause anxiety for pets. You can’t control how your neighbours choose to celebrate Canada Day, but you can take steps to help ease your dog’s anxiety related to the loud noise and flashing lights.
Why are fireworks scary?
It’s important to keep in mind, fireworks are a completely foreign experience for animals. Fireworks come without warning and can be very frightening as a result. Even if you live far from any public firework displays, be prepared for private fireworks close to home.
Tips to keep your dog calm and safe
- Keep your dog indoors during firework displays, making sure to close windows and doors leading outside. Startled animals will seek a place to hide. This means if your cat or dog manages to get outside, it can be very easy to lose them. Being inside the house will also help dampen any loud noises.
- Make sure your dog is wearing their collar and ID tags. Microchipping is also encouraged to help increase the chances of being reunited with your pets if they become lost. If your pet is already microchipped, ensure your contact information is up to date with the microchip company. Learn more about microchipping.
- Walk your dog before it gets dark to avoid going outside once the fireworks start.
- Have a safe place for your dog to feel at ease, like a crate or other den-like enclosure.
- You can block out some of the flashing lights by keeping curtains closed and by placing a blanket over your dog’s crate.
- Your dog may pace around, make noise, or search for a place to hide. Let them be – trying to coddle or comfort your dog will indicate to them that something is wrong and add to their anxiety. By staying calm and relaxed, you’ll help reassure your dog that there’s no real danger.
- If you know that your dog is frightened by fireworks, try to have someone at home to stay with them.
- Even if your dog doesn’t show signs of distress around fireworks, resist the urge to bring them with you to watch a fireworks display. Dogs are far more sensitive to the sounds and smells produced by fireworks than we are and would be much happier having a quiet night at home.
For additional tips on how to keep your companion animal calm during firework celebrations, speak to your veterinarian or search for a dog trainer in your area who uses positive reinforcement methods in the Fear Free Certified Professionals directory.
Wish to thank everyone involved
I wish to thank everyone involved in the care and rescue of animals, especially volunteers.