Let’s take a look at whether using your dog crate during firework season can help your nervous puppy and how to successfully use their crate the help them stay calmer.
Is your dog crate trained properly?
How do you know if your dog is crate trained properly? They are happy to go into the crate, stay in the crate and show zero signs of stress whilst in the crate.
If your dog is not crate trained
No, do not use a crate during fireworks. If your dog sees fireworks as a negative event then they will associate the crate with the event and you’ll make crate training much, much harder for the dog and yourself.
If your dog is crate trained
Yes, crates make ideal dens for waiting out fireworks in as your dog already sees the crate as a safe space and has many, many positive experiences with it and this will not be undone by one night of firework hiding.
How do dog crates help dogs during fireworks?
Dogs need to feel safe, secure and reassured during scary events such as fireworks and your dog crates can help with this.
Your dog knows that their crate is a safe space and they have a history of being relaxed and happy whilst being in it.
Being in their crate during fireworks can offer a sense of familiarity and comfort, as the crate carries their scent and provides a familiar texture and environment.
Being inside a covered crate will reduce the noise levels and block any visual stimuli such as flashes from the windows etc.
If you can, pop an extra cover over the crate or get an insulated crate cover in order to dampen the noise even more.
Choice and Control
Allowing the dog to enter the crate voluntarily gives them a sense of control over their environment. Dogs often seek out small, enclosed spaces when they feel anxious, so offering a crate as an option allows them to choose their safe space.
Over time, the crate can become a coping strategy for the dog. When they associate the crate with safety and security, they are more likely to choose it as a refuge during stressful situations like fireworks.
How to prepare your dog for firework night
Preparing your dog for fireworks involves a combination of training, creating a safe environment, and providing comfort.
Throughout the year it’s possible to start desensitising your dog to the firework sounds.
Gradually expose your dog to recorded fireworks (take a look on youtube for videos like this one (WARNING; clicking on this link will open a video of firework sounds, mute your device first if your dog is nearby)) at a low volume, increasing it over time as they become more comfortable.
Set up a safe and comfortable space for your dog, such as their crate, where they can retreat during fireworks.
Add an extra cover to muffle the sounds and ensure the bedding is easily washable in case of any accidents.
Use pheromone diffusers or sprays in the designated safe space to promote a sense of calm.
Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap:
Consider using a Thundershirt or anxiety wrap to provide gentle pressure, which can have a calming effect on some dogs.
Play soothing music, white noise, or use a fan to help drown out the loud firework sounds.
Provide puzzle toys or other interactive toys to keep your dog occupied and mentally stimulated. Long lasting chews can promote calmness.
Remain calm and composed during fireworks to avoid transferring anxiety to your dog.
Consult with a Veterinarian:
Discuss anxiety management options with your veterinarian, including the possibility of anti-anxiety medications if necessary.
Sileo has been used successfully with dogs who get anxious about loud noises and it’s a short acting gel that gets rubbed onto their gums so no extra stress about giving a pill and no heavy sedation in the way more traditional drugs work.
Explore the use of natural supplements, such as calming treats or herbal remedies, under the guidance of your veterinarian.
Turn up the Heat:
A warmer house, after a larger than average meal, can help relax and make your dog naturally sleepy, just like us 🙂
Some people have great success using ear coverings such as material snoods or noise cancelling headphones for dogs.
Remember that each dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Pay attention to your dog’s stress signals and be patient as you implement these strategies to help them feel more at ease during fireworks.