It isn’t everyday that you get to listen in to your dog’s favorite talk-radio station, but with July Fourth fireworks approaching, our dog-human relations liaisons have granted us exclusive access to the English translation of the show, so you can help your dog calmly conquer their fireworks anxiety. The show is about to start—listen carefully.
Barney Bulldog: Welcome to this episode of “In the Doghouse.” Today, we are discussing a topic that strikes fear into the hearts of millions of dogs every July—fireworks. Joining me on the air are the co-authors of the best-selling book “Take a Bite out of Firework Fear.” They want to share their firsthand—or rather firstpaw—experience with conquering fireworks anxiety.
Wilson Weimaraner: Thanks for having us, Barney. I want all your listeners to know that there is no shame in being afraid of fireworks. When I was a young pup, I used to cower, pant, pace, whine, bark, hide, shake, and try to get as close to my humans as possible, every time the booming and flashing started. I still don’t see why my humans love fireworks, but now I can calmly relax in the house during the displays. With some help from my humans, I faced my fear of fireworks, and our listeners can, too.
Drown out the noise
Darla Dachshund: Yes, Wilson, you truly don’t have to live in fear. I have trained my humans to turn on the TV, radio, or a sound machine to help drown out the fireworks noise. They also know that I like to hide out in my safe den—what they call a crate—and burrow under the blankets they put in there, to make it comfy.
Create a quiet, safe retreat
Gerald Great Dane: Speaking of dens, Darla, I spend time in the finished basement, because the booms are quieter down there, and I can’t see the light flashes. Plus, it has a couch, and we Great Danes love couches. During the fireworks, my humans dress me in a fashionable ThunderShirt that squeezes me like a big hug, and makes me feel so much calmer. Sitting on the couch in a shirt—yup, I’m practically a human.
Tire out your pet before the show
Wilson: Every year my people take me for a long run before the fireworks, which is great, because not only do I love running, but it also makes me tired and relaxed. Then, they get out my favorite puzzle toy filled with peanut butter, spray cheese, and biscuits. I am so busy trying to get to my treats that I forget all about the fireworks.
Consider calming medication for your pet
Gerald: Speaking of treats, if your people try to hide a pill in something yummy, play along and eat it. Before the fireworks last year, my mom called my veterinary friends at Alpine Animal Hospital, and they gave her some magic pills for me. It was my favorite fireworks yet, because I snoozed on the couch in my shirt through the whole thing, and didn’t feel a bit scared. My humans were already doing lots of things to help me feel calmer, but the pills were the final piece of the puzzle that helped me completely relax. Have your humans call your doctor well in advance of the fireworks, to ensure they have time to pick up the medication, and let you try it before the big day.
Distract your pet with attention and treats
Darla: When you get upset, sometimes your humans are upset, too, because they love you, and want you to feel better. Mine used to nervously pet me, and say, “It’s OK” over and over again, expecting me to believe them. I know they meant well, but they made me more upset. Now they remain calm and carry on with their normal activities during the fireworks, and it is so much better for us all. Sometimes, if I don’t feel like hanging out in my den and my humans are at home, they ask me to entertain them with all my tricks. It’s a win-win situation—I get treats, and they get to marvel at how adorable and smart I am, which is better than fireworks any day.
Barney: So, listeners, thanks for joining us for this episode of “In the Doghouse.” We are out of time on the show, but if you would like to order a copy of “Take a Bite Out of Firework Fear” for the low price of 12 bones, our phone lines are open.
There you have it, straight from the dog’s mouth. Since their book isn’t translated into English yet, do the next best thing, and contact our Alpine Animal Hospital team to learn more about the options, including medications, for helping your dog weather the fireworks calmly this year.