Fireworks can be fun and exciting for hoomans, but not so much for our furbabies. The loud bangs, smokey smell, and bright flashes of light can cause anxiety along with barking, howling, and crying. Some pups may even try to escape their homes, leading to the Fourth of July having the highest rate of lost pets than any other day of the year. Even if your dog is well-behaved normally, it’s important to keep them safe by taking extra precautions the week of Independence Day.
Here are some helpful tips to keep your furry friends safe over the next couple of weeks:
1. Keep Your Furbaby Home
You can decrease your dog’s exposure to fireworks as much as possible by keeping them home and away from festivities. While they may miss you while you’re away, they’ll be sure to thank you for keeping them far away from the loud noises at the park.
2. Update Your Furbaby’s Identification
In the unfortunate event of your dog escaping the house, you can ensure they are returned safely by updating their identification. Not only is it important to microchip your pup, you should keep them dressed with a properly fitting collar or harness that has an up-to-date ID tag. If you’ve recently gotten a new phone or changed your phone number, double check that their dog tag has your active phone number.
3. Create a Fun & Safe Space
It’s important to make them comfortable in a crate or free-roaming environment, Dr. Christine Bobula, who is a veterinarian in Whittier, California says:
“The key to this strategy is to ensure your dog is comfortable when you leave. For every dog, how you make them feel comfortable is different. Some dogs will actually be more comfortable (and less destructive) if confined to a crate or pen. An unwashed piece of clothing can be placed with the dog, together with appropriate chew toys such as Kongs. Crate confinement is only effective and humane if the dog has had an opportunity to learn it is a place of relaxation and comfort.”
4. Distract With Treats & Tunes
Fun treats or toys can be a great distraction for your pup to prevent them from fixating on the fireworks outside. An appropriate and safe chew toy may include a stuffed Kong toy with wet dog food, or frozen “cake” with chicken stock, water, and peanut butter! You may also play their favorite show on TV, music for dogs, or white noise to help distract them from outside noises.
If you have an Alexa device, you can use Alexa skills integration to create a routine which instantly plays calming music or turns on the TV if your Furbo detects barking.
5. Stay Home With Your Furbaby
If it is possible for you to stay home with your furbaby, your presence can be the soothing solution they need to stay calm. By comforting your dog with pets and love, they’ll feel much safer.
6. Tire Out Your Pup
Prior to the festivities you can exercise your dog by taking them on an extra long walk or to the dog park. By tiring out your pooch you can help reduce their anxiety and prevent them from having too much energy when the fireworks begin.
7. Desensitize Your Dog
You can try desensitizing your pup to the scary sound of fireworks by playing videos. By playing a YouTube video of fireworks while creating a positive experience with them, such as feeding treats or playing tug-of-war, you can create positive associations with the sounds.
8. Try a Compressive Shirt
A shirt or vest with gentle pressure can help instantly calm your dog. You can purchase one online or make your own with an old T-shirt, bandana, scarf, or ace bandage.
9. Talk to Your Vet
If your pup experiences severe anxiety, you should talk to your local vet about your concerns so that you can come up with a customized plan together.
10. Use Furbo to Monitor Your Pup
A Furbo Dog Camera can help you monitor your pooch’s progress remotely with Smart Alerts that alert you if your pup is getting active, barking, howling, and crying. Plus, with Furbo, you can dispense dog treats from the camera to distract and encourage your pup when things get scary!