New Neighborhood Has Fireworks? How to Prepare Your Dog for July 4th
Dogs and fireworks often do not mix well. If you have a dog that hides during any big thunderstorm and completely freaked out during last year's July 4th festivities, you probably already know this.
Since dogs have a keen sense of hearing, unexpected explosive sounds can be very upsetting and frightening to them. If you have just settled into a new neighborhood, you may not know exactly what to expect in terms of fireworks this July 4th.
Whether you plan on leaving your dog home while you go watch a display, or you plan on settling in with your pet, it pays to prepare yourself and your canine for whatever the new neighborhood might bring in terms of loud sounds this weekend.
Do Your Research
If you just moved into your new home, find out if you can see or hear any community firework events from your neighborhood. Often, even small towns offer a display and usually the town clerk’s office can tell you about all scheduled events.
This is also a great time to get to know your neighbors and the typical neighborhood activities. You don’t need to go door-to-door asking questions, but if you see a neighbor outside, go over and introduce yourself. Ask about the neighborhood and their experience living there over the years.
- Is it usually pretty quiet?
- Are there any block parties or times when everyone gets together?
- Are there some neighbors that set off fireworks on certain holidays?
If this neighbor you are speaking with has a dog, they probably will offer some good insight as to what you can expect and how big your neighbors tend to celebrate.
Regardless of what you learn, take a few steps to be prepared for keeping your dog calm and comfortable during any 4th of July festivities.
Get him used to the sound: Try playing videos with firework noises at a low level to let your dog get used to the sound in the background.
Be calm: You will lead your dog by example, so if you remain calm, your dog might also.
Work around your dog: Take the dog out for a walk before fireworks start, and keep it inside during the show. Keep windows closed and run your AC for air while firework sounds can be heard.
Plan ahead for any time alone: If you plan on leaving your dog and going to a local show, create a safe place for him to retreat to feel protected, and find ways to drown out the noise he may hear. Leave them with an old piece of clothing with your scent on it.
Add your own noise: Turn on some noise to drown out the firework blasts as much as possible. Try leaving the tv on, playing music that your pet likes or, if you have an Amazon Echo or other home audio device, you can program it to "play white noise."
Make a fort: Build a retreat and let your dog spend time alone inside it to feel protected.
Close and lock doors: This will prevent your dog from trying to get out and make a run for it.
- Talk to your vet: There may be meds to help dogs make it through the anxiety.
With a little research and preparation, the 4th of July celebrations will probably not cause anxiety for either of you. In a nutshell, create a safe space for your pet: close the doors, windows and curtains, turn the television, radio or white noise up – and try to behave as normally as possible to encourage your dog to do the same.
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