Firework Preparation for your Dog:

Americans can be pretty serious about their holidays. The excitement, the tradition, the decorations: what’s not to love? Unfortunately for pet owners, some of these events also come with added stress for our dogs. Specifically, the approach of the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve can be a source of some anxiety for our animals due to the tradition of setting off fireworks as part of the celebration. In preparation for the 4th of July in 2019, The Doghouse LLC was asked to share its knowledge and behavioral tips for dogs with the Tampa Bay Community via WFLA Daytime News. Our head trainer, Carrie Silva Woodell, highlighted some straightforward “do’s” and “don’ts” to help get your household ready for the fireworks. These tips will help you prepare your pet for such holidays, and can even be applied during thunderstorm season in Florida.  These methods provide insight on how to help your dog cope during these stressful events. Follow this link to watch the news segment, or review the provided list of tips:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-IOAKrUJO0

Don’ts:

  • Do not walk your dog during the fireworks, or allow them to go outside unsupervised. Stress and anxiety caused by the fireworks display could cause them to jump a fence or escape. It is more difficult to catch a dog when their mind is in a state of high anxiety.

  • You should avoid overly petting your dog or assuring them that everything is OK. 

  • Never take a dog to a fireworks display in hopes that it will acclimate them to the experience.

Do’s:

  • More dogs go missing on the 4th of July than any other day of the year, Be prepared, and make sure your dog is microchipped. Having your dog wear tags on his/her collar containing your contact info is another way to ensure that your dog will find its way back to you.

  • If your dog is a senior, or simply has high-anxiety, try creating them a “safe place”. It could be located in a darkened room, closet, or their favorite spot in the house. Play white noise or music, and make sure your dog cannot see any firework displays through windows.

  • Feed and water your dog early on the day of the fireworks display. This ensures that you have plenty of time for them to use the bathroom before dark.

  • Make sure to physically exercise your dog before the fireworks begin. Being worn out can help them to take the edge off.

  • You can mentally stimulate your dog during the fireworks by offering them a high-value bone, stuffing a KONG, or having a favorite chew for the dog such as a bully stick or Nylabone. This is a great way to associate loud noises with something rewarding.

  • Consider talking to your vet about giving Benadryl or anxiety medications. If you decide on this route, make sure the timing of giving these medications is accurate for when the fireworks will begin.

Most importantly, be a strong leader for your pet.   Dogs tend to mimic us, so it will be reassuring for them to see you acting calm, collected, and enjoying the holiday.  If you are concerned about your dog being too spooked, your dog running away during the fireworks, your dog shaking during the fireworks, or any other behavioral issue contact us.  We can assist you in helping your dog cope through these issues.