From Memorial Day to Labor Day, everyone loves a good summer celebration complete with backyard firecrackers and firework displays. But some dogs not appreciate the noisy commotion. It’s known that dogs have a greater ability to hear sounds—including higher frequencies and different pitches—than humans. This is also the case for volume with extreme sensitivity to higher decibels. From the whizzing of detonation to the finishing kaboom, pyrotechnics cover it all. It’s enough to make most dogs feel pretty uncomfortable.
How can we help our furry children feel safe and comfortable during situations that can produce fear or extreme reactions to the experience? Here are tips for providing a calm atmosphere and positive distractions.
Safety first, close or secure all doors and windows. Close the windows and put on the air conditioning if possible. When a dog is frightened, it’s first reaction may be to flee the situation. Open doors and windows are an easy exit for the dog that is trying to “escape”, and screens aren’t necessarily a deterrent for a scared pup. Besides, closing up the home along with the hum of an air conditioner can help lower the volume of outside sounds.
Use ambient sounds. Play soothing music, use a white noise machine, or turn on the television. A news program or show with talking and low music (not a movie that includes loud sounds) can create a calming atmosphere.
Create a quiet space. Is your dog used to sleeping in a crate? Often a crate represents a safe, quiet place the dog prefers for sleeping. Creating a cozy space in an anterior room can provide a comforting sense of security.
Introduce a special treat or favorite toy. Save a favorite toy for you and your dog to play with only during situations of stress for the dog. The special treat—such as a bone or biscuit—or favorite game with you is a positive distraction to what’s happening outside.
Provide plenty of play and exercise. An active dog results in a tired dog. Enrolling your pup in a dog daycare program—even if you are home more during the summer—will keep your dog active throughout the day. The dog daycare programs offered at Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center provide a full day of socializing and playing with other dogs which might help your pup sleep right through neighborhood firecrackers (or even a thunderstorm). And what dog ever turned down the opportunity for an extra walk through the neighborhood with his favorite human?
Purchase specially-designed products. Talk with your local pet store manager about special pet clothing or bedding created to help the pet feel calmer. These items focus on applying gentle pressure to the body resulting in a calming effect—the same concept as swaddling a baby. The beds feature extra padding, high bolstered sides, soft surfaces, and warming effects to help relieve anxiety through a sense of safety and comfort.
Try natural remedies. There are natural scents that can produce a calming effect. Over-the-counter sprays, wipes, or plug-in products containing pheromones can be soothing. Treats and drops containing CBD are also popular for in helping to calm anxious pets.
Consult with your veterinarian. Always consult with your veterinarian if your pet experiences symptoms of anxiety or negative reactions to loud noises like fireworks. An exam can address any associated medical issues, and it’s recommended to discuss supplements before using. A veterinarian can prescribe an appropriate medication if the other steps to help your pet feel comfortable are not enough to relieve the anxiety.
Show love and support. An anxious dog needs to feel loved and safe. Punishment for a negative reaction to fear is never recommended, and neither is continued exposure to something that produces fear in the hopes of training it out of the dog. Working with a behavior modification specialist can provide the knowledge and extra support to help a dog work through anxiety and noise phobias.
Stay at a pet resort. If summer celebrations in your neighborhood or community include evenings filled with firecrackers and a firework display, lodging your dog or cat at a pet resort might be an option. The goal is to relieve your pet’s anxiety, so your dog or cat should have experience and a level of comfort staying at a pet resort. Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center is located on 50 lush acres—away from the neighborhood festivities. Each guest is secure and comfortable in a private suite suited in a climate-controlled stone building for quiet from the noisy happenings outside. Paired with daycare or other activities during the stay is sure to create a silent night for the dog or cat that dislikes pyrotechnics.