From the impressive fireworks at Ann Morrison Park in Boise, Idaho, to kids with sparklers at a backyard barbeque in Meridian, Idaho, it’s important to keep your dog in mind and prepare them for the possible anxiety and stress associated with fireworks. Reading the top 10 tips below will help prepare you and your furry companion the holiday:
1. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day. If he is tired he is much more likely to relax later on.
2. Keep your dog inside during fireworks, preferably with human companionship. Taking your dog to a fireworks display is never a good idea.
3. Provide a safe place inside for your dog to retreat. When scared of sounds dogs can’t orient, dogs often prefer small enclosed areas. If your dog is comfortable in a crate, that is a good option.
4. Never fuss, pet or cuddle your dog if he is showing signs of fear or distress. You may think you are helping, but you will actually be reinforcing that behavior with a reward and this will result in your dog thinking he should be scared.
5. Try not to leave your dog alone, but if you absolutely have to ensure he is left in a safe dog-proofed area.
6. Offer your dog a good chew toy or an antler to keep him distracted. Having something to do can help to relieve stress.
7. Keep your dog inside after dark when fireworks are likely to be set off, and if he has to go outside ensure he is supervised as he may attempt to escape if a firework takes him by surprise.
8. If possible, keep the windows and curtains closed. Covering the crate or lowering the blinds can also be helpful. Removing visual stimulation can also help calm dogs.
9. Make sure all your dogs are wearing ID tags with a properly fitting collar. Dogs have been known to become Houdini around the 4th of July.
10. If your pet does show calm behavior, especially while fireworks are being set off, then praise him to show that he is behaving in the correct way. If he is behaving calmly and rewarded for it, then he is more likely to behave that way in future.