If you live in the Milwaukee area, then you know that fireworks are not just for the 4th of July holiday. You'll hear them all summer long (festival season), but especially over the holiday weekend. Unfortunately for some of our furry friends, the loud noises can be very scary. Here are a few tips & tricks to help keep your dogs safe and also ease some anxiety.
Tip 1: Update Microchip Info and Keep their Tags On
Some dogs will react to fireworks or other loud noises by running. Even if you have a fenced in yard, take extra precautions. Let dogs out on leash. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date on their microchip. If your dog doesn't normally wear a collar with tags, ensure they are at least wearing it over the long holiday weekend.
Tip 2: Try Calming Treats
Some pet parents have had a lot of success with calming treats or CBD products. Whenever you are trying anything new like this, it's best to consult your vet (especially if they are on regular medication that it may interact with). Be sure to follow specified dosing as well. And always make sure you are using dog-safe products.
Tip 3: Try Other Calming Products
In addition to calming treats, there are a number of other products out there that can help with anxiety. These can be used in coordination with treats too!
Thundershirt - Just like with people, dogs can benefit from snuggly-fitted clothing that provides consistent pressure. Thundershirts are lightweight, but if you use something else, like a sweater, just make sure that your dog does not overheat
Calming spray - You can purchase or make your own calming spray, which can be sprayed on to the dog's shirt. Do not spray this directly on to your dog's skin or fur. And when making your own, be sure you are researching which ingredients are dog-safe.
Diffusers - Some companies make plug-in wall diffusers that are special-made for dogs. If you don't want to go out and purchase those because you already have one at home. Just make sure the essential oils you are using are completely safe for dogs and that the diffuser itself is far out of reach from the dog. And remember, dogs' sniffers are much more sensitive than ours, so just a very small amount can go a long way!
Tip 4: Build a Fort!
Dogs sometimes want a safe space to retreat to. This can often be their kennel. But you can also make it fun and build them something new using sheets and blankets, tables, couches, etc. Then fill it with all their favorite toys, treats, and bed/pillow.
Tips 5: Help Drown Out the Noise
Close up all the windows and turn on their favorite noises. This could be a TV show or podcast that they may be familiar with from it being played frequently or calming music. Many shelters will play classical music to help lower cortisone levels, but you and your dog may have different tastes.
For more information, read this article by the Humane Society of the United States.