Loud noises and sounds can really freak our pups out, and a fireworks show is probably the worst, noise monster a fearful dog can face. I can tell you first hand how it can affect a home and a dog. Diesel doesn’t do well with these noises and it can make it a true challenge for us all.  If you know a night of fireworks is coming up, here are some ways to help your dog stay a little more comfortable.

Plan ahead. It’s a good idea to check for the dates of community fireworks displays during celebratory seasons, and make sure your dog’s collar ID and microchip registration are up to date. The big ones are of course the 4th of July but there are other events such as Kuna Days in early August, Meridian speedway also as fireworks at times. Check out the local city calendars for these events.

Create distance. When you know a firework display is scheduled nearby, or you see your neighbors setting up for a display, ask a friend if you can bring your dog over for an evening chat or movie – unless your dog finds trips even more stressful. Then it’s time to find a space your dog finds comfort in and turn on a good loud movie and make some popcorn. 

Set up a quiet safe space in your home where your dog is comfortable and the sound of fireworks is muffled, like a finished basement or an internal room like a walk-in closet. Spend time with your dog there, with toys and treats, well before fireworks season begins. 

Desensitize your dog by playing a recording of fireworks at a very low level for short periods, multiple times a day, and rewarding calm behavior with treats. If your dog is extremely fearful of noises, before taking this step, think about consulting an experienced dog behaviorist for expert guidance.

Go for a long walk or do canine fitness well before dark. A happily tired dog is a more relaxed dog. Exercise your pup with fun play, simple canine fitness  or a long walk so they are ready to nap when night falls. Make sure their collar or harness is slip-proof, because some people celebrate with firecrackers and other noisemakers before darkness falls.

Close windows and curtains to muffle the sound and block out flashes of light. Turning on more lights in the home will also block some of the flashing lights outside as well. 

Turn on the TV, music, or white noise like a box  fan, to provide a familiar, alternate sound. Make sure whatever you use is already familiar to your dog – even fans can be anxiety-causing if they are fired up without warning.  

Try an anxiety wrap. Soft, stretchy jackets and vests built specifically for a dog’s shape are reported to be effective at reducing anxiety. I suggest you slowly introduce your dog to their coat well before fireworks season descends.Thundershirt [https://thundershirt.com/] and Calmz [https://www.petmate.com/calmz] are well-known brands.  

Gently distract your dog. Turn those fireworks into background chatter by engaging in normal fun activities like playing with a toy, running through training exercises or putting  those canine fitness exercises to good use , or inviting your dog on the couch for a movie night. But don’t pull your dog out from a safe space they have chosen and force your dog to play if they would rather hide. 

Consult a professional. Is your dog’s quality of life suffering, or are they so panicked they could injure themselves, or you, while trying to escape? Dog trainers, dog behaviorists, veterinarians, and veterinary behaviorists can offer a range of options from counter-conditioning to medication. Please, Please, Please, DO NOT ACE your dog. This does not help them, they can still hear and are affected, they just can’t show you their fear with this!