It’s that time of the year and we have some celebrations coming up that will be fun for us, but not so much for our dogs that fear loud noises like thunder and fireworks. Does your dog suffer from a fear of these noises? While we know they are just fine, fireworks and thunderstorms can make some pets downright anxious. Understanding your dog’s fear and applying a little problem solving can go a long way in making them more comfortable.
1.) Make sure their places of safety are accessible. I have a terrier mix and when he hears thunder, he is right next to me. He will often attempt to burrow under my sheets, get under my bed or jump into my lap or lay right next to me. So, what about when we aren’t home? Some dogs feel most comfortable in a den-like enclosure (like under a bed) so make sure if this is a common place for your little one to seek refuge, make sure your bedroom door is left open so they can access their spot. While dogs are technically not den animals, in the wild, they are often born in, nurtured and cared for up to about 10 weeks in a den. Read more about that here
2) Swaddling anyone? There are a number of vests and clothing items available for swaddling your pup to make them feel more comfy. We are not here to recommend any one item over another but give this article a read to learn about swaddling and how and why, it seems to work pretty well.
3) Training And Distraction. Sometimes the fear of loud noises can be eased by simply exposing the dog (little by little of course) to louder noises in everyday life. It makes those times when it happens unexpectedly a little less stressful. Distracting from the noise can also be helpful. When you see the anxiety kicking in, getting your pup’s attention and diverting it to something a little more comforting like a chew toy, a game a fetch indoors, etc. can help them cope with the stress they feel.
Keeping your pet indoors during scheduled fireworks shows can be less of a headache for you too. Dogs often run away out of fear of these noises. They will usually run until they no longer hear it or no longer fear it and that is probably going to be way longer, faster and farther than you can run. They will jump fences, dig under enclosures and do whatever they feel they need to do to find protection from their perceived danger. More dogs go missing around the 4th of July and New Years than any other time of the year.
Check out this quick video from WCPO’s “9 on your side” in Cincinnati