A quintessential part of summer is celebrating Canada Day with family get-togethers, outdoor activities, and fireworks. While bright explosions in the sky may be delightful for the humans in your family, they can be downright terrifying for your dog. Every year, countless animals go missing from homes or backyards due to severe noise phobias. Listed below are tips for keeping your pet safe during Canada’s birthday.
Provide Extra Exercise
Before the day’s festivities begin, take your dog for an extra long walk, hike, run, or swim. The additional exercise will tire out your pup, helping him or her to relax during the most stressful parts of the evening.
Dogs tend to have a singular focus, so if you can distract them with a high-value reward before the fireworks begin you may be able to avoid severe reactions to the noise. Provide your dog with a treat or toy that will require both physical and mental engagement, such as a frozen KONG or other interactive treat like a lick mat. A lick mat can keep your pup entertained for 10-30 minutes (freeze for longer).
How To Make A Lick Mat
Create a Calm Environment
Often, the bright flashes of fireworks scare pets just as much as the subsequent boom. Create an environment for your pet that drowns out both the flashes and the noise by closing the drapes, shutting all windows and doors, and turning up the volume on the radio or television. If your pet primarily stays outdoors, bring him or her inside for the evening to avoid an escape.
Allow your Pet to Retreat
If, despite your best efforts, your pet still is afraid of the noise or light from the fireworks, allow your dog to self-soothe in a manner that is most comfortable. If your pet feels safest by hiding under the bed or couch, do not force him or her to come out and spend time with the family. For some dogs, a blanket-covered crate may provide the most comfort.
Leave your Dog at Home
Even if your pet is generally considered calm and “bomb-proof,” resist the urge to bring him or her along to the neighborhood fireworks display. Your dog could behave unpredictably, causing harm to itself or others. When crowds and loud noises are combined, your dog will be safest (and happiest) at home.
Hire a Pet Sitter
If you have Canada Day plans but know that your dog will be upset by the fireworks, consider hiring a pet sitter for the night to sit with your dog and comfort him or her. Some animals can become especially destructive when afraid, posing a threat to both themselves and property. A dog sitter will ensure your dog stays out of trouble.
For extreme cases of noise aversion, consider visiting a vet in the days leading up to Canada Day and inquiring whether prescription medications are right for your dog. Recently, the FDA approved a new drug, Sileo, which works to calm a dog without producing a sedative effect. This medication is specifically targeted towards pets with noise phobias, and is expected to provide relief to millions of animals and pet owners.
Do you have any other means to help your dog through fireworks? Let us know in the comments!