While you may enjoy this spectator holiday, it’s often the worst day of the year for dogs panicked by loud unexpected noises. Mildly fearful dogs will quiver or shake and hide under beds or in closets. Dogs that bolt in fear will dig under fences, tear through screen doors, break out of windows, and even chew their way out of crates. Tragically, many terrified escapees end up lost or victims of roadway traffic.
The most soothing thing for a dog that is scared poop-less is to have their guardians with them. If your pooch suffers from noise phobia, be prepared to stay at home and help your dog cope. Experiment with the following suggestions.
Drown out fireworks with white noise or, even better, with “Through a Dog’s Ear” CDs (specially created by a sound scientist, a veterinarian, and a concert pianist), lullaby music for anxious dogs. I got the CD and its fascinating book companion on Amazon.com.
Employ the art of distraction by walking your dog inside the house on a leash while asking him to perform tasks for yummy treats. Also, encourage his favorite play activities. Be mindful and stay calm. A dog takes its lead from the emotional condition of its owner, so acting neutrally can help him feel less anxious. That includes not making special gestures, such as excessive hugging or petting. Giving your nervous nelly extra attention during a panic attack can actually reinforce the anxiety.
Outfit your dog with a Thundershirt. This snug garment (based on the same principle as swaddling a baby) was originally designed to help dogs cope with thunderstorms – hence the name. Buy according to size at pet supply stores or on-line retailers.
Adaptil (formally known as D.A.P.) imitates the pheromone found in the milk of nursing dog moms. This natural occurring pheromone helps to settle down nervous puppies when adapting them to new environments. Magically, this pheromone has the same calming effect on adult dogs. Product line includes pet collars, spray and room diffuser.
Human injuries and fire hazard warnings have prompted many progressive cities to ban the public sale of fireworks. Cities that continue to permit these recreational mini-explosives need to wake up and smell the smoke!