Dogs and Fireworks


It’s that time of year – time for 4th of July and the fireworks that come with it.  As pretty as they are, the noise can be very stressful for your dog.  I have one that doesn’t seem to mind at all and another one that is so terrified that she shakes, pees and throws up.  It’s because of her that I’ve had to get creative.  Here are some of the things I’ve tried.

Dogs are different so don’t get discouraged if you try something that doesn’t work – try something else, or a combination of a few things, the next time until you find what works.

  • Exercise – Make sure your dog has plenty of exercise during the day.  It won’t cure the fear but a dog with a lot of excess energy is quicker to get nervous.  Tired dogs are calmer dogs.
  • Location Location Location – Keep your dog in the house during the fireworks.  Make sure the bathroom breaks are done well before the fireworks start and keep windows and curtains closed.  Think about sound-proofing and use whatever room is most naturally dark and quiet.
  • Noise – Cover up some of the firework noise with other noise.  Turning on music is a great way to provide alternative sounds.  It’s best to turn it on a couple hours ahead of the fireworks so that your dog doesn’t notice the start of the fireworks as much.
  • Thundershirt – The concept here is that the shirt applies gentle, constant pressure.  They compare it to swaddling an infant and say that it gives a comforting/reassuring feeling to the dog.  Click here for the Thundershirt site.
  • Benadryl – This is great for allergic reactions but can also be used as a mild sedative.  The dosage is roughly 1 mg per pound and most drug store pills are 25 mg each.  Because this is a drug, please check with your vet before administering.  Older dogs and specific breeds can be more sensitive.  Click here for the official Benadryl site.
  • Prescription Tranquilizers – See your vet for these; some dogs can’t tolerate tranquilizers so trust the vet.  Also, tranquilizers take a while to work so allow an hour or two for them to kick in.
  • Identification – Make sure your dog has a collar and an updated ID tag on, just in case.  A microchip is even better. Scared dogs can run out of the house/fence in a panic when they’re trying to get away from the loud noise.  Having a current picture on hand is a good idea too.
  • Fun Distractions – Leave your dog something fun to do and focus on.  You can freeze a Kong filled with peanut butter or check out some of the interactive toys on the market that are designed to hold treats or pieces of dog food and then require your dog to figure out how to get them out.

I’m sure there are plenty of other good ideas out there.  Do a little research, trust your instincts when it comes to your dogs (you know them better than anyone else does) and prepare for the worst case scenario.  I’ve never met anyone that was sorry they over-prepared but (sadly) I’ve met several that wish they’d planned more.

Whatever method (or methods) you choose – PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME! 

Best of luck and Happy 4th of July!

Happy Birthday Cricket

Cricket is now three years old…but when will she actually “grow up?” 

She still has to be locked up in a crate when I leave the house.  Much to her delight, I was recently laid off andBirthday Girl no longer have to go to work and lock her up on a daily basis.  I’m hoping that by the time I go back to work, I will have done some training with her and be able to leave her alone and free again…but that can be very destructive and very expensive. 

Things aren’t all bad; there are some very endearing things about her puppy-like behavior.  For example, I’ve never had a dog that throws its toys around and chases after them with such delight.  She’s also one of those dogs that just takes off and runs laps around the house for no obvious reason.  She burps.  She snores, often.  She sleeps upside down and fully stretched out, as if she hasn’t a care in the world.  Yep – there are a lot of cute things about Cricket, even if she can’t be trusted.