Thunderstorm or Fireworks? How to Calm a Scared Dog

For many of us, the Fourth of July is a festive, fun-filled day of barbecue, cocktails and social interaction, but for our dogs, it can be stressful. It’s common for dogs to be frightened of loud noises. Events like the Fourth of July only exacerbate this by bombarding them with excessive scary, unfamiliar sounds like fireworks, loud music and more.

If you’re wondering how to calm your dog during fireworks, thunderstorms, or any other instances of loud noise, you’re in the right place. We’ll cover some simple tips for how to calm a scared dog and keep him safe during noisy events. With these suggestions, you’ll be able to help your pup have a much more relaxed Fourth of July.

1. Create a Safe Space

If your dog is prone to anxiety, creating a safe space for them to retreat to is vital. Pay attention to your dog’s behavior when they are stressed. Is there a particular room or area that they like to hide out in when they become overwhelmed? Create a sanctuary there.

Do they crawl under a table or desk? Do they hide in the corner, or lay with their back against the wall? Do they seek out dark spaces?

Their sanctuary space should enable them to replicate those actions. If your dog likes to be under a table, perhaps a crate would make a good safe space for them. They may find it comforting to be enclosed. You can place a blanket over the top to insulate the crate from noise.

2. Offer a Distraction

Sometimes providing a compelling distraction is enough to calm a scared dog. This tactic won’t work for every dog, but it’s worth a try. 

If your dog is scared of fireworks or thunderstorms, try to engage them in their favorite activity to keep them distracted. This could mean playing fetch, offering a belly rub, or any myriad of things your dog finds enjoyable.

If your dog is particularly food-oriented, a puzzle toy or a durable chew bone or treats could be enough to take their mind off of the scary noises outside. This way, they’ll have to work harder to get at the delicious treats inside, thus making the task more engrossing. 

Some foods are believed to relieve anxiety in dogs. Calming foods are thought to include blueberries, sweet potato and beef liver, among others. Incorporating some of these items into your pup’s diet during seasons of thunder and fireworks could help ease their anxiety. 

3. Provide Comfort

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to calming a scared dog. Your approach will depend on how frightened your dog is. You need to evaluate their state and determine how to comfort them in a way that they’ll be receptive to.

Food oriented dogs may find comfort in treats, while many others might prefer affection. Pet your dog gently and speak to him in a soft, soothing tone. Surround him with items he loves, like favorite toys or blankets, or his bed.

Be aware that sometimes even the most cuddly dogs may find petting overwhelming when they are stressed. If that’s the case, sit with your dog instead. Your presence is comforting in and of itself. 

4. Help Maintain Calm Using CBD Products

If your dog constantly experiences anxiety during thunderstorms and fireworks, consider trying a pet-safe CBD product. These products promote calming effects and relaxation and may help reduce the effects of normal environmental stress.

If you know that a thunderstorm, firework show, construction work or any other potentially-jarring, noisy event is coming up, CBD products may help your dog maintain a relaxed disposition. Purity Preferred CBD Calming is specifically designed to reduce oxidative stress in dogs and cats. Purity Preferred starts with its own proprietary genetics of full-spectrum hemp (no THC) layered together with other anti-inflammatories such as moringa and krill oils.

5. Put on Soothing Music

Music or white noise can help insulate your dog from the scary sounds happening outside. Research has shown that classical music is soothing to dogs.

You can find curated playlists on Spotify designed specifically for calming dogs. Some of these include classic music overlaid with ambient sounds like rushing water and nature sounds, while others use music alone.

Final Thoughts

If your dog is scared of fireworks or thunderstorms, these tips will surely help you keep him a little calmer. 

Remember to take extra precautions during these events to keep your pup safe. Data shows that more dogs go missing each year on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year. You don’t want your pup to be one of them. 

If you have to let them out for a potty break, put them on a leash, even if you usually wouldn’t. You never know when a loud noise might occur and spook him. Additionally, if you have to open your front door, make sure your dog is securely in another room so that he can’t bolt. Even if your dog isn’t the type to run off, they may behave erratically when they are frightened. Don’t hesitate to go the extra mile to keep them safe. 

Janine DeVault is a freelance pet writer, animal rescue advocate and former celebrity dog walker. She lives in Mexico with her three rescue pets, Maia, Fosi, and Kesi.

References:

  1. https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-set-up-a-safe-space-for-your-dog
  2. https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/11-foods-anxiety/
  3. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-infographic-more-pets-are-lost-on-july-4th-than-any-other-day-of-the-year-300108062.html
  4. https://www.rover.com/blog/how-do-i-comfort-my-dog/
  5. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-31695766#:~:text=Classical%20music%20has%20a%20calming,was%20played%20into%20their%20kennels.

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