New Year’s Eve is the time to pop champagne and bottle rockets. The bursts of bright color in the sky and loud noises may light up our faces, but fireworks are likely a very scary event for your dog. Those of you with phobic dogs have probably been dealing with holidays like New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July for a while and may have a management system in place. While you may not be able to put Fido completely at ease, there are some very simple things you can do to make him more comfortable.
This may seem obvious, but please leave your pup at home if you are attending a party where there will be fireworks. Create a safe environment at home for your dog by removing any objects that may become hazardous should your dog become anxious. If you use a crate, place the crate in the quietest part of your home. Use safe chew toys to distract your pet. Play music or leave the TV on to help drown out the noise. Darkening the room by closing the curtains or blinds can also help.
Again I’m stating the obvious, but never leave your pet outside unattended, and make sure your pet has identification tags and is micro-chipped in the event they become lost.
For serious cases, your veterinarian can prescribe tranquilizers for your dog. Also, some people find that non-prescription remedies such as Rescue Remedy calm their dogs.
One of our favorite tools to combat anxiety in dogs is the Thundershirt, which AnimalSense now has available for sale at our Old Town office. It’s a cotton wrap secured with velcro that can calm anxious, fearful or over-excited dogs by applying gentle, constant pressure. Experts have long believed that pressure has a calming effect on the nervous system. I’ve seen it happen first hand in our group training classes. A dog who cannot focus due to anxiety or stress becomes a different dog after just a few minutes of wearing a Thundershirt. If you have a firework or thunderstorm phobic dog, you may want to give it a try. If you don’t believe me, just listen to this talking dog.