dog fireworks anxiety
General Dog Talk,  Wellness

Tips For Managing Your Dog’s Fireworks Anxiety

For dog owners, New Year’s Eve and July 4th means managing fireworks stress, fear and anxiety for your dog. The Dogpocalypse is real. But here are tips to keep your dog calm and manage their stress when there are fireworks.

Tips for Managing Your Dog’s Fireworks Anxiety

  1. Tire your dog out early in the day.  A tired dog is a good dog. Go for a long walk, go to the dog park, play fetch. These activities put your dog in a happy (and tired) frame of mind.
  2. Keep your dog inside the house.  Don’t let your dog out unattended after dusk, even in your fence yard. If there are fireworks, he’she may jump the fence trying to escape the noise. If your dog needs a bio break, stay in the yard with them. If you must walk them, use a double leash one attached to their collar or harness, the other a slip lead that the dog can’t pull out of.
  3. Leave the TV on or play music, especially if you aren’t going to be home. Check out TV for Dogs on YouTube, or use the free trial membership of DogTV. Tip: Try it first while you are home. Our dog selective girl growled at the TV at first when the other dogs appeared.
  4. Give your dog a special treat, such as a peanut butter filled Kong or bully stick.
  5. Make sure your dog has tags on their collar. If your dog does happen to get loose, an ID tag (and preferably a microchip) will help to speed their return home.
  6. Set up a comfortable escape room/hiding spot.  A closet with familiar blankets and bedding can be a welcome refuge.

Calming Products to Help Your Dog’s Fireworks Stress

If your dog is one that panics at thunderstorms and other loud noises, you may need additional help dealing with fireworks anxiety. Here are some options to try.

  1. Thundershirt. This helps to calm your dog by holding them closely and applying pressure. It’s similar to the theory behind weighted blankets, or swaddling a baby (or a good solid hug!). Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS) relaxes the nervous system.
  2. Essential Oils. Lavender and other essential oils can be used in a diffuser. Be sure to use a version that’s is labeled as safe for pets.
  3. Calming Collars. Calming collars that use pheremone technology can be quite effective. Adaptil is the most common brand name, available in collars, sprays and diffusers.
  4. Calming Treats. There are many calming treats for dogs that use hemp, L-Tryptophan and Melatonin. For our older dog that has both separation and thunderstorm anxiety, NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aid Chews have worked wonders. Pawtree offers a similar product called Chillax, that I highly recommend.
  5. CBD Oil. The use of CBD oil for anxiety is becoming more mainstream for both pets and humans.  Casper’s Oil is one of the most popular brands of CBD oil for pets, which you can purchase on their website. This Austin-based company has a strong following among pet owners for it’s 100% US grown hemp, and their quality control.

HoustonDogMom Rebecca G. is a Houston-based dog lover and shelter volunteer.