How to Calm Your Dog During Fireworks and Thunder

Fireworks and thunderstorms don't exactly make dogs feel secure. With season for fireworks approaching, dog owners should be aware of their dog's behavior when a loud crack echoes through their home. Dogs, cats and other animals react like this because they are extremely afraid and anxious, thinking that you can make the noise stop or that they can run away from it. The following are some tips to help noise-sensitive animals deal with the noises of summer:

What not to do:

Above all - do not punish your pets for annoying or destructive behavior brought on by noise anxiety. When pets get their adrenaline going, they can ruin curtains, flooring, and furniture in an attempt to escape.

Take your dog to the fireworks display or out for a walk during a thunderstorm. You might think being around the noise that frightens them would build an immunity to the fear, but it doesn't work with most pets.

Keep animals outside while the noise is happening. They get especially creative when desperate, and may find ways to escape a yard that normally contains them.

Lock dogs in a room with a window that they could break and escape from. Dogs can get so agitated that they jump through glass windows to get away from the noise.

Steps to take to help your dogs:

Make sure your pets have identification tags on their collars in case your pet does escape and become lost.

When you know a storm is coming or the fireworks will fly, let your pets go where they feel safe. Your cat might want to hide under a bed or chair, and your dog might feel secure in his kennel. If a dog is not used to a kennel, then put him in an interior room or a basement with a dog bed or blanket and some familiar toys.

Distract pets from the noise. Turn on the radio or a fan to detract from the noise that scares them. Roll a ball on the floor to play catch (and not break anything...).

If you are at home with your pets, stay with them, as your presence may calm them. Relax to demonstrate that there is nothing to fear, and use a soothing voice to reassure them.

Use flower essence remedies formulated to calm anxiety and stress in your pets. Use them as a preventative on the days leading to July 4th (Independence Day in the U.S.) and times you know a storm is moving in. If your pet is already stressed, you can use the Bach Rescue Remedy flower essence formulation. Use about four drops in the water dish each time you fill it.

In extreme cases, consult your veterinarian about medications that can help. Make sure you understand the dosage to give, as the dosage for a large dog could harm a smaller animal.

Just remember that animals don't know what's making the scary noises and think that it might hurt them. Their instinct is to get away from it, just as you or I would run from gunfire. Make a plan to help your pets feel safe.

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