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Keep your Dog Safe during Fireworks Season

To most Americans, there’s nothing like the thrill of a summer fireworks display. For pets, however, “bombs bursting in air” can be terrifying and even dangerous.

Dogs who suffer from fear of loud noises are at particular risk at this time of year — not just from large community fireworks displays, but also from neighborhood firecrackers and from the screams and shouts that often accompany them. Many dogs run away, trying to escape the sound.

A dog’s response to loud noises may range from cowering or hiding, to excessive barking and frantic behaviors. Best Friends professional dog trainers warn not to punish your dog for being afraid, which will only increase his anxiety and fear.

It’s not a good idea to comfort and cuddle your pet either, they say. By rewarding him with attention, you will only reinforce the problem behavior. Instead, they recommend the following steps to protect pets during fireworks:

  • Bring your dog indoors to a quiet area of your home – preferably an interior room where the noise is muffled. Move her bed or crate into that room for added comfort. If necessary, close the door or put up a gate to keep her confined during the noisiest times.
  • Try to mask the frightening noises with the familiar sounds of a radio or TV. Or turn on a fan in or near the room.
  • Stay with your pet and distract him by playing a favorite game or practicing obedience skills (rewarding him with treats, of course). Your presence will be reassuring.

If your can’t be at home with your pet, consider taking him to your local boarding kennel where he will have both the supervision of caring humans and the company of other dogs to distract him from the frightening noise. Knowing your pet is safe and secure in the care of pet lovers can make it easier for you to relax and enjoy your holiday.