This weekend we spent a lot of time discussing how to keep our dogs safe and out of mischief this week. I’m going to be honest. I have no idea how Independence Day is going to go for us. Mauja has only experienced fireworks one other time. Aside from a little extra panting and drooling, she did great. We wanted to make sure we would be home for her first experience just to be safe, so we decided to forgo the festivities last year. You can see how enthused she was 😉
We will be doing the same for Atka this year.
It’s important to remember that a dog’s hearing is much more keen than ours. The distant sounding fireworks and yelling people are much easier for your dog to hear. If you haven’t desensitized your dog to fireworks, here are some steps to help the night go more smoothly.
- Exercise your dog beforehand. I cannot stress how important this is. When your dog is well-exercised and tired, he/she will be more likely to relax. A tired dog is a happy dog!
- Ensure your dog is wearing a tight fitting collar and ID tags. Even better? Have them microchipped as well! Shelters take in more stray dogs on July 4th than any other day of the year. Dogs become spooked and will escape through yards, windows, or cracked doors. Make it easy for your pet to get back home!
- Create a safe space for your dog. This can be extremely beneficial for your dog. If they have a favorite bed/crate/blanket, make sure it is in a quiet, dark place. Put a tasty snack (like a frozen Kong) in the crate along with appropriate chews and a shirt that smells like you. Most dogs will prefer their safe space to be in the same room as you, but some rooms are not able to accommodate such a set up.
- Keep your dog inside (preferably with you). Now, no one is telling you not to go out and enjoy the evening, but if you have an extremely anxious dog, you might was to consider having someone stay behind. The person staying behind will be able to keep an eye on your dog and make sure he/she stays safe. We will be staying home with the pups this year, but they might be okay alone next year!
- Remove visual stimulation by closing blinds, windows, etc. Your dog is already trying to cope with the auditory stimulation; he doesn’t need to worry about the visual stimulation as well. Try and make sure his safe space is away from open blinds and other sources that may cause visual discomfort.
Do you know how to tell if your dog is uncomfortable? Here are some common signs of anxiety:
- excessive drooling
- clingy behavior
- whale eye
There are many MANY other signs of anxiety, but these are just a few to get you looking for the right thing. Remember – If your dog is anxious, do not cuddle him. I know this may seem mean, but you are reinforcing the negative behavior by coddling your dog when he is scared. Instead, try and make his environment as relaxing as possible. If your dog needs a little extra help relaxing, there are several natural options that you can try. Some of my favorites are:
What do you do to help keep your dog relaxed?