With summer and Canada Day quickly approaching, it is time to start thinking of how your puppy fits into the celebration. While many dogs enjoy the various activities, Canada Day fireworks are typically a cause of stress amongst our furry friends. To try and understand why dogs are afraid of Canada Day fireworks, and what you can do to help, look no further than this article, where we tackle both the problem and various solutions!
Why are Dogs Afraid of Fireworks?
In order to best understand how we can help puppies during Canada Day fireworks, the first step is to understand why dogs are afraid of fireworks in the first place. There are many reasons dogs are afraid of fireworks, including.
- They are loud and noisy
- They are unpredictable
- They are threatening
Although to us humans, fireworks are a planned event that is just as beautiful as they are noisy, this is not the case for our puppies. To them, Canada Day is just a regular day, and Canada Day fireworks come without warning and with noise. Especially taking into account the fact that dogs have a better sense of hearing than humans, this can be incredibly scary. This can cause dogs to see fireworks as threatening, triggering a fight-or-flight response and making them feel trapped. Based on all of these factors, Canada Day fireworks can be an anxiety inducing time for most puppies.
How to Calm your Puppy During Canada Day Fireworks
There are lots of different techniques and strategies in place to help keep your dog calm during fireworks. While we discuss a few here, feel free to try out a variety of these solutions or try out a few of your own! After all, you know your puppy best.
Create a Safe Space
The first thing you should do to prepare for the fireworks is to prepare a safe haven for your puppy. This should be a quiet space indoors, away from doors or windows to prevent your dog from seeing the fireworks. By keeping them in a space where they cannot see or hear the fireworks will automatically reduce their anxiety about the event.
Other techniques for muffling the noise of fireworks in your puppy's safe space can include purchasing a white noise machine, playing calming music, or investing in noise cancelling headphones for your puppy. If your puppy is crate trained, creating a safe space inside the crate and using blankets around the sides to muffle the noise is another great alternative.
Schedule your Day Accordingly
On Canada Day, you should schedule your day in a way that keeps your puppy occupied and tired out by the time the fireworks commence. A great way to do this is by partaking in a pre-fireworks activity with your puppy to tire them out by the time the fireworks start. Taking your puppy on a walk, run, hike, or engaging in a mentally stimulating activity will help them sleep through the fireworks, avoiding the problem altogether!
Keep your Puppy Occupied
Another great strategy for keeping your puppy calm during Canada Day fireworks is to keep your puppy occupied. This can be done through different distractions, such as toys or treats your puppy can focus on instead of the fireworks.
You can also opt to stay home with your puppy during the fireworks and comfort your puppy during the fireworks, which is a great way to keep them calm as well. The most important thing about comforting your dog is making sure that you stay calm as well. Seeming frantic, repeating yourself, talking in a high pitched tone, or constantly moving can create the impression to your puppy that there is something to fear, which is not the case.
Investing in an anti-anxiety vest for your puppy can help soothe them as well. This gentle, hug-like pressure can help reduce stress during these kinds of events. You can achieve this pressure through the purchase of a vest or create your own vest by wrapping strecthy fabric around your puppy's shoulders and chest. Just be sure not to restrict blood flow, and get your dog used to the feel of the wrap before fireworks so they are comfortable with the garment.
Finally, the best long-term solution to keep your dog calm during fireworks is to desensitize them to the noise. This can be done through sound training, which involves playing a fireworks sound effect in brief periods for your puppy, while rewarding them with treats and praise if they stay calm. Continue repeating the process while increasing the volume of the effects, duration of the effect, and variations of fireworks sounds to include different firework types. Through this process, your puppy will begin to associate the sound of fireworks with praise for staying calm.
Through the use of these various techniques, we can begin to understand why puppies are afraid of fireworks and what we can do to help them. That way, Canada Day fireworks are a fun event for everyone!
To see a comprehensive list of all our solutions, refer to the infographic below. Have you tried any of these strategies with your puppy? Which one is your favourite? Let us know in the comments!