Holidays are a peaceful time to get together, eat yummy food, and feel grateful for a brand-new year but normally that includes fireworks. So then comes the question, how to help dogs with firework anxiety?
The truth is that over the past few decades, the holidays have become a challenging time for those who happen to suffer from anxiety. And even though you might have a good time during these special dates, your dog might not enjoy them quite as much.
Approximately 46% of dog parents reported that their dogs suffer from anxiety during the holidays. So, if you are a dog parent and you are already dreading New Year’s Eve, this blog is for you.
How to prevent my dog from suffering anxiety?
Even though you can’t prevent your dog from feeling anxious or stressed, there are several things you can do and others you should definitely avoid to help him soothe his anxiety, so here's how to help dogs with firework anxiety.
4 things you should do
- Give him calming support. Hemp calming support makes a real difference and helps soothe your dog’s New Year’s Eve experience. Mokai’s Hemp Calming Treats reduce anxiety and hyperactivity, and gently calms your dog down without making him lethargic.
Leave music or TV on. Try to provide a relaxing environment for your pup to feel comfortable. If you leave the TV on, try tuning special programming for dogs, like DogTV, or a YouTube channel with entertaining videos for dogs’ anxiety. Alternatively, you can use Spotify and leave a playlist with ‘dog relaxing music.’ Don’t leave any random channel or playlist on as they can transmit New Year’s Eve fireworks and make their anxiety even worse.
Prepare your house. If your pooch is going to stay alone, make sure to:
- Close the curtains to avoid any external triggers
- Tape your letterbox, in case someone can drop a firecracker inside of it
- Lock the doors to protect your pup and prevent him from escaping
- Provide a safe place for your dog to retreat. Choose an isolated place inside your house where you know your dog might feel comfortable. A nice blanket, a frozen treat for him to lick, and his favorite toy, and you’ll be all set!
4 things you should avoid to help dogs with firework anxiety
Sedating your pup. Calming support is encouraged, but dogs need to remain functional to interact with their family. If you sedate your dog, they will still feel scared and anxious but they won’t be able to express it.
Leaving him alone outside. If you are going to leave your pup alone, make sure to restrict his access to the outside. The noise, sounds, and lights can trigger your dog’s anxiety, and what’s worse, a firecracker can end up in your backyard and hurt your pup.
- Punishing your dog for ‘wrong’ behavior. The holidays are a special occasion for everyone, and dogs are not the exception. Not only can they suffer from anxiety, but they also get nervous as they don’t realize something is going on. Try to be patient, and remember that it’s a special date and your dog might act differently.
- Walking your dog after 9 pm. People who use fireworks tend to start early, so make sure to walk your dog before 9 pm to avoid exposing him to flashes and loud noises.
If it is within your possibilities, try not to leave your dog alone. Dogs tend to get anxious when left alone, so adding the fireworks factor can only make it worse. When the noises and flashes start, don’t try to calm your pup because it would be like acknowledging that something worth stressing about is going on. You should always act naturally and wait until the fireworks are over.
To conclude, be patient! Anti-fireworks campaigns and awareness-raising are getting stronger year after year, so we firmly believe that sooner than later we will get our happy puppy ending! 😊