This week on the maxxiblog we are discussing fireworks, specifically the how and why they upset our canine companions and how we as responsible pet owners can help ease our dog’s understandable fears. In our last blog post we looked at breaking the mind frame that fireworks are only an issue on the 4th of July and how to identify anxious behavior in dogs. Today we’re going to discuss specific steps you can and should take in the weeks before a potential fireworks display to help your dog better tolerate the experience.
Microchipping and current collars tags
One of the most responsible things you can do as a pet owner is to make sure your dog is microchipped and the microchip is activated and up to date. And of course, making sure your dog's tags are up to date and well attached is important.
1. Have you moved since you first brought your dog home?
2. Has your phone number changed?
If either of these things have changed, be sure to contact your chip company and have the information updated.
Unfortunately, you never know when your dog will run away and animal shelters are accustomed to checking found pets for their microchip. As far as tags are concerned, if a stranger finds your dog, tags serve as this first way they'll know your dog is missing and not a stray.
Make a secure place for your dog
If the fireworks are coming to your area, then give your dog a safe place to take refuge when they’re scared. For some dogs this may be their regular crate or dog bed, but more sensitive canines can benefit from moving their safe place into an inside closet or bathroom, where sounds from the outside world are even more dampened. Fill your dog’s safe space with their favorite toys, fresh water and food.
If you’re traveling to a place where there will be fireworks, be sure to show your dog their safe place as soon as you arrive. And if at all possible, avoid taking your dog out to the fireworks. Showing your dog the cause of the noise will not help them, and could possibly make their anxiety worse, putting them, you and people in the crowd in danger.
Start comforting reinforcement and a calming aid
In the weeks leading up the fireworks, start working on comforting your dog in a more conscious manner. The main ways to comfort your dog are all intrinsic, additional petting, speaking in a calming and encouraging manner, rewarding good behavior with a treat. You may also want to start using a natural calming aid in the weeks prior.
With calming aids, such as maxxicalm, they work best when given daily and started 3-4 weeks before an anxiety inducing event. Natural calming aids are especially beneficial if you’re focusing on training and want to keep your dog alert but calm. With maxxicalm, we recommend giving an additional dose directly before an event in which you would typically expect your dog to become upset. With both comforting reinforcement and a natural calming aid, consistency is key.
These three basic tips can help you and your dog more comfortable the day the fireworks arrive. In our next blog post later in the week we will examine what additional steps you can take the day of the fireworks and during the fireworks to help comfort your dog.