5 Ways to Soothe a Dog’s Fear of Fireworks
The first time Rodrigo and Sydney were exposed to fireworks, I jumped out of bed and brought them out of their kennel and comforted them.
Sydney loved the attention. Rodrigo learned that he needed to fear fireworks.
There are a lot pets who have a genuine fear of fireworks and thunderstorms; one that can’t be calmed by the suggestions I offer below. The fear Rodrigo experienced was born of my poor dog parenting.
Fireworks are legal in our town and it sounds like someone is firing off a canon next door. So I thought our new puppies would be afraid. When I comforted Rodrigo, I was rewarding his anxiety, which was minimal at the time. He was just curious and a little wary of the loud noises. At New Years, he was terrified. Yayyy Me!
The Fourth is a week away and we’ll watch a movie, then go to bed and all 4 of our dogs will be fine, including Rodrigo.
I stopped rewarding his anxiety and I discovered a few useful products to help with his anxiety.
- Canine Calm by Earth Heart – this is a combination of essential oils that are natural and safe for dogs. I mist the air in front of Rodrigo (and in front of myself when I’m feeling stressed). Hint: don’t spray directly into your dog’s face, just a mist over his/her head will do.
- The Thundershirt – when I was first introduced to this product, I laughed. Our trainer taught us how to accomplish the same technique with an ace bandage. The problem was that I couldn’t replicate her wrap, so I happily put the Thundershirt on Rodrigo when he needs it. Hint: start putting the Thundershirt on your dog a week or so before the fireworks; if you wait until the fireworks start, your dog might connect the Thundershirt to the fireworks and a new fear has been created.
- Acupressure – Our trainer taught how to rub our dogs ears to help calm our dogs; Sydney would fall asleep in our laps when we massaged her ears. Acupressure is another way to alleviate some of your dog’s anxiety on the Fourth. The following video demonstrates an acupressure technique used to relieve stress in dogs:
- Take a Long Walk – we get up early in the morning on the Fourth and take all of our dogs for a long walk. There’s a walking trail that is beautiful and quiet first thing in the morning and the dogs get a ton of exercise and sniffing time. Hint: tack on a few long play sessions that day too; the goal is to make them too tired to be afraid (fingers crossed).
For dogs that have an intense fear of fireworks and thunderstorms, these steps may not work. Discuss alternative solutions with your veterinarian and dog trainer.
Have a safe and fun Fourth of July
Author’s Bio: Kimberly Gauthier is the Fur Mom to 4 dogs and founder of Keep the Tail Wagging, an online magazine for dog lovers. By sharing her experience as a dog mom to 4 pups, Kimberly hopes to help others make better choices for their dogs too. When she’s not laughing with her boyfriend or playing with her dogs, she can be found writing, taking pictures, reading, or watching movies.
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