Helping Your Dog Cope with Fireworks Before & After the 4th of JulyJessica Schuett
It’s no secret that dogs often fear things that are loud or unfamiliar. With the Fourth of July holiday past us, the fireworks and noises aren’t over. Even if you believe your dog may be familiar with loud sounds from hunting, fireworks may not be the same. People will be lighting up those store-bought fireworks for at least another month – if not longer. So how will you be able to comfort your dog at dusk and ensure they feel safe and secure? Through some research and discussion, I have found some information that I think will help benefit your furry friend this summer. Not all techniques work on all dogs – so you’ll have to find what works for your pet. Now, let’s explore some of these techniques.
First let’s look at the signs that your dog could be afraid or nervous. You know your pet better than anyone, and the first sign of odd behavior is usually easy to spot. For my dog, Mia, a few signs are…
- She curls her tail between her legs and hides – in a corner, on a bed, or even in her crate.
- She changes facial expressions and begins panting heavily even when she’s not hot or thirsty.
- When she’s not hiding, she will follow me around because she doesn’t want to be left alone.
- She will whimper under her breath and pace nervously.
So, what can we do to help our fur babies feel more secure, calm, and safe? Three things that have helped Mia during these times are white noise, aromatherapy, and physical security.
What is white noise? For those of you in IT, you’re probably already familiar with this term. For the rest of us, it’s background noise that will help “drown out” or “dilute” the noise that is scaring your pet. A word of caution; don’t pick a noise that will be equally scary for your pup (e.g. a movie with guns and loud noises). For me, I like to put on DOGTV with our PetChatz® camera. You can also subscribe to DOGTV on most cable or satellite programming. It has a vast amount of pleasant sounds and voices, and even may spark their visual interest as a distraction. If we don’t stream DOGTV on PetChatz, we also have a television in our bedroom downstairs where Mia can hide out during a storm or fireworks. Other sounds that sooth Mia include: meditation music, a television program with talking, car rides, or even running the washing machine or vacuum.
Think about how you feel when you smell fresh lavender or cinnamon. Dogs’ sense of smell is highly in tuned to their surroundings, and aromatherapy is a great way to calm your pet. With Mia we have two blends we like to use for her fear and anxiety, plus Mia’s PetChatz offers aromatherapy too! No other camera can do that. PetChatz is a two-way audiovisual camera for you and your pet. If it’s storming while I’m at work it’s great to be able to call her to check in and dispense a treat, and during the chat PetChatz diffuses the calming aromatherapy. Other oils that I have used include T-Away and Peace & Calming and Lavender (Young Living Essential Oil blends). You will find your dog (or other pets) will have their own favorites. I encourage you to set three bottles of oil on the floor (unopened), and let your dog be drawn to the one they favor. Then use that as a guide for your aromatherapy and diffuse it with PetChatz or in your household diffuser.
Finally, physical security is important. If you have a scarf or bandage wrap (the stretchy reusable kind, or even just a long piece of material laying around) this can sometimes work with your dog as it does with mine. On this YouTube video you can see how wrapping a scarf or wrap acts to offer pressure for that sense of security. I mean, really, who doesn’t like a big hug? That is really what it becomes for your pet. There are also scientific reasons why this works and you can read up on that on a dozen different sites.
If all else fails and you are trying and trying without results, know that you can call your pet with PetChatz while you’re away, or if you’re home, take them to a safe place with you. Overall, your dogs and other pets are family and do not understand what is going on when little Jimmy decides shooting bottle rockets is a good idea tonight. So be prepared this summer with a PetChatz camera, aromatherapy, and a wrap that will help them snuggle close to you.