It’s not uncommon for dogs to experience what experts call noise phobia – feeling anxious, stressed, or panicked when exposed to loud sounds. This can be especially challenging during summer months when thunderstorms and fireworks are more common. Here are six helpful techniques to ease your dog’s fear of thunder and fireworks.
6 Ways Ease Your Dog’s Fear of Fireworks and Thunder
- Be Proactive. If you know there are fireworks planned or if you have time before a big thunderstorm blows in, be sure to give your dog lots of exercise earlier in the day. Remember not to leave your furry friend outside during these events, as more pets go missing around the 4th of July than any other time of year.
- Create a soothing ambiance. Utilize white noise from a fan, TV, or calming music to drown out the loud sounds. This technique is useful even if you’re away from home, and it’s also helpful for horses in barns.
- Offer a safe space. If your dog is comfortable in a kennel or small room, provide them with an enclosed area where they feel secure. However, don’t leave them alone if they’re likely to panic and injure themselves. Some pet owners have found success with placing their dog in an empty bathtub.
- Keep your dog’s mind occupied. Offer a rawhide to chew on or a toy filled with peanut butter. This may only help dogs that are semi-worried about the noise, not those who really freak out.
- Try a Thunder Shirt™/anxiety wrap product or put your dog in a tight-fitting t-shirt (but not too tight!). These tight-fitting shirts/wraps act similar to when you swaddle a baby, making some dogs feel a bit more safe and secure.
- Alternatives. If none of these tips work or your pet is really stressing, ask your vet for any homeopathic remedies or even mild tranquilizers.
Note: As your pet’s caregiver, keep in mind that you need to remain calm. While you want to help soothe their stress, paying too much attention to them may reinforce their behavior.
Share your ideas for easing your dog’s fear of thunder and fireworks in the comments section below.