Many dogs suffer a fear of fireworks, and with the upcoming holiday it’s extra important to know about this, protect the dogs, and prepare them the best we can. Even a confident dog can be terrified by the loud and unpredictable noises and bright lights.
Pets should be kept indoors during 4th of July and other firework-holidays. There are some things we can do to help them manage the fireworks. The fear might never disappear completely, but we can make it easier.
Find a video of fireworks and play it on lowest possible volume a few times during the day. While you play it, give your dogs treats, cuddle, and play. You want doggie to connect the sound with positive things.
During the course of a few days, increase the volume slowly. Keep doing fun stuff every time you play it.
If your dog shows fear at any time when you play the video, turn the volume back down and keep the positive reinforcement with play and treats.
It might take time, but eventually your dog should be able to hear the sound at a fairly loud volume without being afraid.
Desensitizing takes time, and it doesn’t always make the fear go away. Keep your pets inside. Try to drown out the sound the best you can, and allow him or her to hide. Pulling them out or trying to coax them can reinforce the fear. Also, don’t coddle the dogs when they show fear; acting naturally shows there’s no danger.
Some dogs have severe firework phobia, and in these cases you should discuss the problem with your veterinarian. There are anti-anxiety medications that can help your pet get through the holiday.