How to Manage Your Dog's Anxiety During the Holidays

By Sandra Roosna / July 2, 2022

With over 60% of pet dogs in the U.S. being terrified of fireworks, the upcoming holiday is a stressful and frustrating time for many of us pet guardians and our pets.

Let's talk about how you can prepare your dog for the 4th of July:

πŸ’œ Keep your pets indoors. Even if your dog is good about staying near their home and is not a fence climber, the presence of something scary elicits a flight response which often supersedes any learned behavior. When walking your dog outside, attach your dog's harness to their collar using a carabiner. This way, if they attempt to slip out of their walking equipment, you still have a hold on your dog.

πŸ’œ Close your blinds and curtains to minimize sound. If you have a relatively soundproof room in your house (usually a closet or bathroom), spend some time in there with your pup.

πŸ’œ Turn on the fan, TV, or radio, to mask any sound coming from outside. My personal favorite is a box fan, as it moves enough air to block most sounds. Place it between your pup and the source of most noise and have it face the wall.

πŸ’œ Use a Thundershirt or a make-shift pressure wrap. Applying steady pressure on your dog's body for 20-30 minutes at a time has a relaxing effect on their nervous system. Cuddling, talking to, and petting your dog also provides them with safety and comfort they need during this scary time.

πŸ’œ Provide your dog with food-based enrichment. Prepare a lick mat, puzzle toy, or a Kong filled with your dog's favorite treats and have your pup work on them in their quiet space. Licking and chewing helps release serotonin, which plays a crucial role in reducing anxiety. It also serves as a good distraction and helps tire your dog out.

πŸ’œ Talk to your vet about anti-anxiety medication.