The 4th of July is almost here! While it’s a time of celebration for us, it can be a scary and stressful experience for our furry friends. Dogs have much more sensitive hearing than humans, so the loud booms from fireworks can trigger intense fear responses. As a puppy trainer, I often hear the same question: “How can I help my dog deal with fireworks and thunderstorms?” If you notice your furry friend displaying signs of fear like hiding, trembling, panting, pacing, barking, or trying to escape, it’s crucial to take action.

Here are some helpful tips to get your pup through this stressful event:

1. Keep Your Pup Indoors. More dogs go missing on the 4th of July than any other day of the year because they run away trying to escape the noise. Keeping your dog inside can prevent this.
2. Create a Safe Space. Ensure your dog has a safe hiding space, such as a covered crate in a quiet room.
3. Provide Distractions. To keep them occupied, offer distractions like a tasty frozen food toy or their favorite chew toy.
4. Use Background Noise. Leave the TV or radio on to help drown out the sound of fireworks. Ensure the volume isn’t too loud, which can hurt your pup’s ears.
5. Close Blinds or Curtains. Minimizing flashes of light can help keep your dog calm. Close your blinds or curtains to reduce visual stimuli.
6. Consult Your Vet. Talk to your vet about medications or calming supplements, especially if your dog struggles with loud noises. Do this sooner rather than later to be prepared.

Surviving Florida Summer Thunderstorms from a Puppy Trainer in Vero Beach

A Few Tips for a Stress-Free Summer:

Pair Booms with Treats
A simple way to reduce fear is to pair the loud noises with an extra yummy treat. Regular treats will suffice for some dogs, but for others, you might need something special like cheese or chicken. Toss your dog a treat whenever you hear a boom to create a positive association with the noise.

Use Food Toys
Give your dog a food toy stuffed with something tasty, such as canned dog food, peanut butter, or cream cheese, to lick while the noises occur.

Condition Relaxation
If you’ve trained your dog to relax on a mat or bed, this can help settle them during a noise event.

Remember, there’s no reason for you or your dog to suffer. If nothing seems to be working, consult your veterinarian for additional options to reduce their fear.

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