Tips to Keep Your Pets Calm During New Year's Fireworks - Pet Hub USA

Tips to Keep Your Pets Calm During New Year’s Fireworks

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It’s common for many dogs to have a noise aversion to fireworks. We’ll show you telltale signs, how to desensitize, calm, comfort, and create a safe space for your dog, and more to reduce your dog’s anxiety around loud noises.

Noise Aversion and Trauma

According to estimates, around one-third of the canine population is affected by some type of noise aversion. Thunderstorms and fireworks are two of the most prominent triggering loud noises.

In the US, the two most anxiety-producing holidays for dogs are the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve. There is one sole reason for that: Fireworks. Because of the noise aversion to fireworks, these celebrations can be traumatizing. It is also a time when many pets run away, trying to find somewhere safe to escape the noise.

Signs to Look For

Specific sounds, such as fireworks, thunderstorms, or other loud noises, can trigger a noise aversion response in a dog. These behaviors include:

  • Trembling
  • Ears pinned back
  • Look of panic in their eyes
  • Whining or barking
  • Pacing
  • Panting, yawning or drooling
  • Constant lip-licking
  • Chewing or licking themselves
  • Extreme agitation
  • Attempting to hide
  • Attempting to escape
  • Destructive behavior

How to Reduce Your Dog’s Anxiety From Fireworks

Here are several steps to take toward reducing the anxiety your dog may be experiencing from its noise aversion to fireworks or other noises.

1. Tire Your Dog out During the Day

When you know there will be fireworks in the evening, on a day such as the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve, make a plan in advance to give your dog extra activity beforehand. A tired dog will be easier to calm, as well as will sleep more deeply. 

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Give your dog lots of activity during the day so it will be tired by nightfall. Take your dog on an extra walk, or engage in play.

Read More: 10 Ways to Improve Your Dog’s Destructive Behavior

2. Before the Fireworks Start…

Before the fireworks start, take your dog outdoors for its bathroom break. Your dog is not likely going to want to go outside once fireworks start going off.

Second, do a check around your yard and make sure all gates are closed and secure. Also, make sure there aren’t any ways for your dog to escape from your property. Many dogs escape and run away during times when fireworks are occurring.

Read More: 5 Things to Do If Your Dog Runs Away

3. Bring Your Dog Indoors

Even if your dog is a “yard dog,” it’s best to keep your dog indoors during fireworks activity. “Yard dogs” can be kept securely in the garage, mudroom, or laundry room temporarily until the fireworks have ceased. 

Keeping your dog indoors will create a barrier that will prevent them from escaping, as well as reduce the noise level.

4. Create a Safe Space

Create an area where your dog will feel comfortable and offer the most insulation from outside noise. Put their crate in this area. 

Try to place your pet in this area a few hours before the festivities begin. If you can, spend some time cuddling and playing with your pet to help further relax them into this space.

Read More: Why Does My Dog Like to Lay on Me?

5. Noise Reduction and Distraction

If necessary, you can add additional insulation such as putting thick fabric, blankets, and pillows around their crate and/or over doors or walls for additional soundproofing.

Turning on the TV or radio can also create additional sound that will help muffle the sound of fireworks and distract your pet. Try to do this a few hours before the fireworks begin. Calming music or a pattern of white noise may also be helpful.

6. Try New Toys and Treats

Another way of distracting your pet during fireworks is to give them a new toy or offer them treats.

However, pets with strong anxiety may show no interest in toys or treats while fireworks are occurring. If this happens, it’s not unusual. Nonetheless, it’s worth a try.

Go Somewhere Quiet

If you can travel and go somewhere where there won’t be any noise from fireworks, this is another step to consider, especially for dogs with strong anxiety. 

Calming Aids

Using natural, over-the-counter, or prescription calming aids is another way to try to reduce your dog’s anxiety around loud noises, such as thunder and fireworks.

Over-the-Counter Calming Products

There are many types of calming aids on the market. They’re available in a wide variety of formats, such as chews, collars, and diffusers.

In general, when it comes to indigestible calming aids, it’s always best to look for natural ingredients such as chamomile, valerian root, or L-theanine. Avoid products with artificial flavors or preservatives.

As a rule of thumb, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian before using any over-the-counter or natural calming remedy to ensure it’s safe for your dog.

Body Wraps

  • Thundershirt® or Anxiety Wrap®, may promote calming and lessen ambulatory behavior in dogs. 
  • A Storm Defender Cape™ may function as a body wrap and reduce static discharge associated with anxiety.

Prescription Remedies

The following will all require a prescription by a veterinarian:

  • Adaptil® (dog-appeasing pheromone) and/or the odor of lavender or chamomile may promote calming and lessen anxiety.
  • Composure™, a product containing L-theanine, may promote calming in mildly fearful dogs.
  • Zylkene® (alpha-casozepine) may have calming properties to help relax dogs with situational anxiety.

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