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Fireworks, Thunderstorms and Your Dog

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fireworks and dogs
A few years ago, I found a dog running on our street the night of the July 4th holiday. She was terrified. Our SPCA was already closed so I kept her at my house overnight.

I called them the next morning and they said they were full. When I registered surprise, they said this was quite common and often happened after the July 4th holiday, New Year’s Eve and after thunderstorms.

I didn’t even think of calling the pound because I knew when they got full, they immediately started euthanizing.

I kept the dog and tracked down the owner later that day, who didn’t even realize his dog was gone until he went out to feed her that morning and saw she wasn’t there.

Now I know we usually can’t prepare in advance when a thunderstorm pops up but we know when the firework laden holidays are coming and can plan in advance to make them as easy as possible for our fur kids.

Many of these things you can do as soon as you hear a thunderstorm coming too.

Here are my tips:

  • If you have any outside dogs, keep them inside during the festivities or storm.
  • If you are not going to be home and you do have a crate for them, now is the time to use it.
  • Keep them in an interior room if possible and keep windows and curtains closed.
  • Turn the TV or radio on.
  • Make sure they have ID collars, tags or are chipped just in case they do somehow get out of the house and run away.
  • Put a Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap on them. You can get these from Amazon or your local pet store. These shirts use acupressure to help calm your dog. It doesn’t work for every dog but it does work for many of them.
  • Whether you are home with them or not, distract them with a food puzzle toy such as a Kong.
  • If you are home, you can always just hold them and talk gently and calmly to them instead of crating them. Being with mommy or daddy is always comforting to a little one whether human or canine.
  • If your dog has serious anxiety issues about this, contact your vet and ask for a sedative to use. You may not like having to drug your dog, but it beats having them terrified.
  • One of our readers commented that she is having some luck with Quiet Moments Calming Aid. You can get it at the big box pet stores or here on Amazon.
  • Another reader, Val McCready says that what has worked for her dogs is to turn on calming music for dogs on Spotify. I looked on there and I believe the one she uses is  Relax My Dog: Calming Music for Dogs.
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Have I forgot anything? Is there anything you do to help your dogs through this? If so, let us know in the comments.

Cathy signature Chi

 

Cherry

Thursday 8th of July 2021

Thank you Cathy for covering this. My little Lilli is 9 now. She wasn’t bothered by any noises or weather until she was 6 when her older brother died unexpectedly on Xmas eve. In my locality fireworks are lit for any and every celebration so could it be she has associated the two? Although we got her a sister, (who isn’t at all bothered), within days and I combine all your suggestions she remains inconsolable. Has anyone a similar experience?

Cathy

Thursday 8th of July 2021

Yes, it definitely could be related to her brother passing. If nothing is working, I think I would ask the vet for a sedative to give her on firework days.

Mary King

Sunday 4th of July 2021

I use a thunder shirt, trazadone and adaptil. Then I turn the tv volume up as high as I can stand. Then I get out the vacuum cleaner so they can SEE where “ bad noises “ are coming from

Cathy

Sunday 4th of July 2021

Good ideas Mary.

Jim

Saturday 3rd of July 2021

My little Biscuit will sit calmly through anything so long as I am there to reassure her.....so I always make sure to wear my Thunder shirt to keep me calm. (She's almost 3, I'm almost 65)

Cathy

Saturday 3rd of July 2021

That's good Jim. I really wish they would make all fireworks the quiet kind. It would make this holiday so much easier.

tamara lynn stewart

Friday 2nd of July 2021

Hi! when we found a lost dog in the middle of the night, we were able to take him to the police dept. They kept him until the shelter opened and his owner found him immediately. I also posted on facebook.

Cathy

Friday 2nd of July 2021

I'm glad you took care of the dog until his owner was found!

Maryanne Carrico

Friday 2nd of July 2021

I love your column.

Cathy

Friday 2nd of July 2021

Thanks Maryanne!