In the United States, next to Christmas and Thanksgiving, there are few holidays as exciting as the Fourth of July. Independence Day brings together families and friends and is always a cause for wonderful celebration.
Kids and adults line up for picnics, parades and festivities all throughout the day. However, it’s when the night comes that our fur babies suffer most.
Although fireworks can be breathtaking to watch and will often tug at the human heart with thoughts of freedom and sacrifice, dogs certainly don’t see it the same way!
The food and family fun, they are certainly willing participants, but I haven’t met the fur baby yet who appreciates the explosive sounds of fireworks bursting in the night sky.
Two years ago, we left the home to visit some friends a couple of hours away to join in a fireworks display and play games. We left the house a little after dinner and asked a good friend to stay on watch our pet. Since she had nowhere to go, she was happy to eat our left overs and relax with our puppy on her lap.
Everything went well for the first part of the evening, with those two enjoying some snuggling on the couch and eating some leftover roasted chicken. Life was good for our little Jlo…until…
When the local fireworks started, the sound could be heard throughout the house. Although they were several miles away, they still boomed and cracked for the duration of about 30 minutes. In addition to the larger community display, some neighbors were lighting roman candles and various other store-bought fireworks in the street. All of this sound was entirely too much for our puppy. The sitter couldn’t console her either. Jlo began shaking profusely and was terrified of going outside. To make matters even worse, the loud noises caused her to throw up.
When the sitter called to tell me what had happened, we were unsure of what to do. It’s not like you can give your fur baby ear plugs and tell them it’s going to be ok. We ended up driving back home to spend time with her. Even when I got home and the fireworks had settled down dramatically, her little heart was running a million miles per hour.
Since that time, I have learned a few tips to help your dogs make it trough the trauma that I will share here. The first thought is to get them away from the noise. We have a two story home and the sound upstairs is a bit quieter than the noise downstairs. We now bring our dog into our room to help keep her calm.
Next, don’t leave them alone. They are pack animals and need to know that their alpha dog is in control of the situation and there to protect them. This year, when I stayed home, we were always very close by, sometimes holding her during the event.
Next, talk to your dog in very soft, soothing tones and let them know that everything will be ok. They need to know that you are not worried and it will help them to follow your lead. I also try to have a treat available and a way to distract them. Sometimes she will play with her favorite toy if I can distract her enough. I will say, though, that this is not a guarantee.In the end, remember that they have no idea what is going on and it sounds like a war zone to our family pets. So, be considerate, be aware and take the steps necessary for them to make it through the night. They deserve the love and support after all they do for us on a daily basis!
Do you have any other ideas or stories you would like to share about fireworks and dogs? Please let us know in the comments and we will make sure that others hear from you, as well.