Independence Day is meant to be fun for all, but is it?
With exploding fireworks, screaming children, the smell of sulfur, smoke, and grilling food, the Fourth of July holiday can spell panic for even the calmest and most collected canines in our community.
At My Dog Spot, we are all about keeping our pets happy, healthy, and feeling safe. And with the fourth of July festivities just around the corner, now is the perfect time to talk about noise phobia in dogs and how we as dog parents can help reduce the stresses in our dogs during firework season.
Why Fireworks Are Terrifying to Some Dogs
For many of us, it’s a no brainer why our dogs are scared of very loud and unexpected sounds.
It’s not like we can sit our pups down the day before the festivities begin and explain to them what is about to happen. Imagine if you were just lounging around with your family on a typical night and suddenly the sky was bursting with colors, smoke, and explosions! You would freak!
Of course, noise phobia is not uncommon in dogs. Many dogs are afraid of thunder, gunshots, loud airplanes, and yes – fireworks.
So, how do you know if your dog suffers from noise phobia? Let’s take a look at some of the classic signs.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Noise Phobia in Your Dog
It’s not always easy to recognize when your dog is feeling fearful. However, if you pay close attention to your dog’s behavior and body language, you’ll be able to understand what he is trying to tell you.
So, what does noise phobia in a dog actually look like? Some of the symptoms may surprise you.
- Bathroom accidents
- Excessive panting
- Frantic attempts at escape (through windows, doors, etc.)
- Excessive drooling
- Shaking or trembling
- Large eyes (whale eyes)
- Dilated pupils
- Following and or not leaving his owner’s side
How Can I Help My Dog Get Through Fourth of July Fireworks?
There are a number of steps we as pet parents can take to help our dogs feel safe and protected during the fourth of July, including:
- Proper exercise
- Removing dogs from the noise
- Thunder vests
- Noise machines or Music
- Counter Conditioning
- Calming supplements
Let’s learn more.
Dogs need exercise every day to not only help them stay healthy physically but also mentally. Proper exercise is especially important for dogs who suffer from anxiety, destructive behaviors, and noise phobias.
When it comes to the fourth of July and dogs with noise phobia, My Dog Spot suggests taking your dog for a good walk or run about an hour before the festivities are set to begin to help him burn off any excess energy that may contribute to his anxiety when the fireworks start.
If you don’t have time to walk or run your dog, you can always reach out to a local pet care company in your area.
For those of you in Pasadena, California and its surrounding areas, give us a call! Visit us at www.walkmydogspot.com for a full list of our services or shoot us an email to book your appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remove Your Dog from The Noise
First and foremost, if you already know your dog has noise phobia, My Dog Spot recommends making a safe space for him in your home, camper, or hotel before the festivities begin.
Dogs who are kennel trained may feel safest in their kennel in a dimly lit room. You can provide them with treats and chew toys to help alleviate any excess anxiety they may still have.
Crating your dog during the holiday festivities can also help reduce destructive behaviors caused by noise phobias, such as chewing and potty accidents.
Many experts recommend thunder vests for dogs who suffer from anxiety and stress.
Thunder vests work by essentially hugging your dog snuggly and making them feel protected, safe, and calm. You can purchase a thunder vest at most pet retail shops.
Noise Machines or Music
Along with putting your dog in his own safe space during the fireworks, you may also opt to use a noise machine or to play music to help drown out the noise.
Fans can work in place of noise machines, and music has been a proven method to help relax anxious dogs.
If you opt to play music, make sure you choose a playlist that is calm, soothing, and relaxing as opposed to music that is exciting and fast.
Most experts agree that calm, slow classical music is best when it comes to calming your anxious dog.
For a wonderful playlist and 15 hours of calming dog music, click here.
If your dog is especially sensitive to noises and has severe noise phobia, you may opt to have him undergo some counter conditioning.
Remember, counter conditioning is something that takes time and should be done carefully in order to ensure it does not have an adverse effect on your already anxious dog.
You can work with your dog at home if you have the time, or you can hire a trainer who specializes in positive reinforcement to work on counter conditioning with your pup.
Counter conditioning works by slowly and gently exposing your dog to sounds that may startle or scare him, and offering him treats, praise, and other goodies just after the sound to help him begin to associate what scares him with something positive.
When working on counter conditioning with your dog, always remember to use positive reinforcement and to never scold or punish him for being afraid.
For a dog who has severe noise phobia, you may decide to speak with your veterinarian regarding calming supplements or other calming medications to help your dog get through the fourth of July easier.
Curious to know more about noise phobia and other ways you can help your dog get through his anxiety year around? Visit us here.
Do you have other tips and tricks for dog parents when it comes to dog anxiety and noise phobias?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below!