Fireworks Are Fun For You, But Not For Your Dog!

I love fireworks! When I was a child, we lived on a lake and my parents would paddle the canoe down to the end of the lake with my sister and I. We would sit right under the fireworks, ooh and aah, and rock the boat. We always managed to arrive home safely, much to my parents' dismay after many warnings to sit still. Those memories come back to me every year on the 4th of July, as I search for the best fireworks displays to attend in our area. Sometimes local towns have their displays on different nights so crazy fireworks enthusiasts can see more than one show (that's me). My dogs, however, would prefer that fireworks were held far, far away from home. We are moving this year and our new home will be within a half mile of the fireworks display. I am planning ahead and stocking up on products to help keep them calm. Here's my list:

  1. Homeopet's TFLN (Thunderstorms, Fireworks, and Loud Noises) - Besides having a great name, I love this product because it is homeopathic and non-sedating. A few drops given three times on the day of the fireworks will help keep the dogs calm.
  2. Thundershirts - These little coats might not look like much, but the swaddling effect helps keep pets calm. I have used them for cats and dogs for storms, fireworks, and really anything that is stressful (including trips to the veterinarian!). This product has a money-back guarantee if it doesn't help (usually it helps).
  3. Flower Essences - I like products like Panic Attack or Mellow Out. These can be given along with the homeopathic products and used with the Thundershirt, as well.
  4. I have used herbal Valerian for it's calming effects. There are many products on the market, including powders, tinctures, and capsules. Valerian should be given for 24 hours ahead of the desired effect to allow it to accumulate in the system.
  5. Nutricalm by Rx Vitamins for Pets - This product contains a combination of Valerian, tryptophan, ashwaganda, catnip, and L-theanine, which produces a calming effect for pets. Again, this product should be started a few days prior to the fireworks. This product is safe to use long-term.
  6. Cannabis products - This is not your local marijuana! CBD oil, not true cannabis, has a calming effect on pets. Many treats are available on the market, but not all are equally effective. Expect to see many more CBD products coming to market in the next year, as this is a new hot product.

In addition to using these natural products to help keep your pets calm, there are some simple tips you can follow.

  1. Pull the shades or close the drapes to block out the flashes of light.
  2. Put soothing music on the radio or TV to keep pets calm and over-ride the sounds of the fireworks.
  3. If you have a finished basement, put your pets downstairs where the sound will be less obvious and light flashes can't be seen.
  4. Give your pet a high reward treat or toy for distraction. If your pet is used to chewing raw meaty bones, this might be a good time to give them a fresh bone. You can also fill a kong type toy with pumpkin or pureed food that has been frozen.
  5. Put a few drops of lavender oil in a diffuser, as this oil is very soothing.
  6. If you need to take your pets outside for potty time, be sure they are on a leash and in a secured yard. Scared pets can bolt and lose their sense of direction.
  7. Be sure your pets are wearing identification and are microchipped in case they get lost.
  8. If fireworks and celebrations were held close to your yard, be sure to check your yard for fireworks and debris before putting pets outside in the morning.

Please don't EVER take your pets to a fireworks display. This is a very dangerous place for them to be. Enjoy the fireworks with your family, but don't include your dogs on this particular outing. Have a great holiday by keeping everyone safe.