New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, and it also happens to be one of the several holidays that happens each year that’s associated with fireworks. While fireworks are a lot of fun for us humans, they can be quite frightening to dogs, who don’t understand the big booms they’re hearing in the air.
When possible, it’s best to avoid fireworks altogether if you know you have a skittish dog. But in many cases, the fireworks are set off by neighbors or community organizations, meaning there’s not really much you can do other than attempt to manage and control your dog’s fear of the noises. Here are some tips from our veterinary clinic in St. Francisville, LA to help you do exactly that:
- Create a soothing place for your dog: Try to find an area of your home where your dog can feel safe and calm. If you’ve crate trained your dog, this could very well be the place—crate training is all about giving your dog its own space where it can feel safe and comfortable. Even if the dog can still hear the fireworks from the crate, just being in the crate might be enough to soothe them. Otherwise, you can find other areas of your home that are out of the way, where they can be calm and relax.
- Distract: Try to give your dog something else to focus on while the fireworks are going off. You can play with your dog, or do some training sessions. Give your dog a nice bone or chew to gnaw on, or some delicious treats to work at. Turn on the TV or radio, and introduce other familiar sounds into the area so your dog has other sounds to focus on as well. Anything you can do to distract from the noises can be helpful.
- Doggy swaddles: This isn’t something that all dogs are going to like, but some dogs can be calmed down very reliably with the use of a doggy swaddle blanket. This type of blanket wraps the dog up tight much like a swaddle does for a baby, soothing them and comforting them while the fireworks are happening outside. Again, not all dogs take to this sort of thing, but it’s at least an option you can consider trying.
- Behavior: You might try some types of behavior modification training to help your dog overcome its fear. The best route to take here is to talk to your veterinarian or to an animal behavior specialist, who can give you some more concrete tips about how you can engage in behavior modification.
- Medication: Medication is generally going to be a last resort, but you can use some types of medications to relax the dog or encourage them to sleep while the fireworks are happening. Again, your vet can tell you more.
For more information about how you can help your dog get through holidays when fireworks are going to be lit off, contact our veterinary clinic in St. Francisville, LA.