Research shows that some dogs go through such stress during loud fireworks that it can make them physically sick. It doesn't matter whether they are large or small either. All size animals can be affected by loud explosions. Additionally, puppies exposed to the loud bangs are more likely to become stressed and nervous dogs later in life. The PetAmberAlert.com group reports that there is a 30% increase of runaway pets taken into shelters after July 4th.
Of course, research is not necessary to see the often negative effects of firecrackers on animals.
So, since fireworks and firecrackers are inevitable during this time of year and other times too, what can we do to keep our pets more comfortable during them?
I interviewed several of our RVers for their solutions and here are some solutions they have come up
- Keep them inside and keep them company. This sounds like a no brainer but when you love your pet you may feel they want to be with you even if it's outside but this is not usually true during explosive fireworks
- Talk calmly to your dog and try not to break your routine or act differently. You know how when you're getting ready for a trip, your pet seems to pick up immediately that something's up? If you're nervous, you can make your pet nervous too. Speak in a calm voice but don't validate their fears by being too sympathetic.
- Make them feel safe. If they have a safe place, a crate, poof or under the bed corner, make sure they can get to it during the loud firecrackers or fireworks. Tossing them an occasional treat can also be calming.
- Drown out the noise as much as possible by keeping the door and windows shut and turning on a fan, radio or TV.
- Some have suggested medications like Benadryl to calm their dogs. I have actually used this myself when traveling in a vehicle with one of my nervous pets but I don't suggest doing so without checking with your vet. There are herbs and essential oils which can be helpful too. One is a flower essence called Rescue remedy which can be found in health food stores. Melatonin is another treatment some mentioned.
- Personally I have a little jacket called a thundershirt which wraps snuggly around my little rat terrier, Louie and seems to really keep him calm. Alternatively you could snuggly wrap a towel around your pet like you would an infant to comfort him.
- One more trick that one woman mentioned was to begin acclimating your pets at an early age. When fireworks are exploding...go out in the yard and every time there is an explosion, clap your hands and say "Yayyyy," along with your dogs name. She swears they've never had a fearful 4th since. (I can imagine what her neighbors must've thought...a similar trick helps with my grandson...TeeHee.)
If you've had success with any other solutions, share them with us below.