Dogs and fireworks just don’t mix… for most dogs, celebrations like the 4th of July are the worst day of the year. How can you keep your Morkie calm and safe this year? Here are 4 strategies for a happier, safer Morkie this July 4th.
FEAR OF FIREWORKS is completely normal for dogs. Flashing lights, tremendous noise, and crowds all work to keep your Morkie on edge and nervous. Some dogs are extremely fearful and will do anything to escape the anxiety of fireworks. That’s when a dog will try to run away.
In fact, July 4th is the busiest day for shelters and humane societies because of runaway dogs. One year, a runaway Morkie even made the evening news.
Strategy #1: Keep your Morkie away from fireworks
The best place for dogs during big celebrations like the Fourth of July is away.
Put your Morkie in a quiet place, close the curtains, and run the TV or radio to mask sounds.
Include his crate or bed, plenty of toys, food, and water nearby. Check on him from time to time, but don’t baby him or pay too much attention to his fears – it can make him more fearful and needy.
Strategy #2: Keep your Morkie safe
Make sure your Morkie is wearing a collar with up-to-date identification, including your phone number.
If people are coming and going, put your Morkie an extra door away from the action so he can’t suddenly slip out.
Make sure windows are secure. Dogs will jump right through a screen in their panic to escape.
Designate one family member to be in charge of the dog. Sometimes everyone thinks the other person is keeping an eye out, and nobody is.
Never leave your Morkie outside in the yard during a get-together. It’s too easy for him to slip away.
Strategy #3: Keep your Morkie calm
Try a pressure vest like a ThunderShirt
Experts say they can really help calm an anxious dog. You can read all about them in my blog post here.
No time to get a ThunderShirt? Try a homemade version with Ace Wraps, thanks to Kathy Coffman and Gracie Girl on Pinterest.
See my other blog post on ThunderShirts here.
Try a calming scent
Dogs sense of smell is many thousands of times stronger than ours, so aromatherapy makes sense. Four scents, in particular, are found to be effective in calming dogs:
Other scents reported to calm dogs include cedar, orange, and lemongrass.
An old standby: Rescue Remedy
Rescue Remedy for Pets is available at Amazon and in health food stores and many drugstores.
And two more remedies – Benadryl and D.A.P.
Benadryl liquid is great for your dog’s allergies, and it’s calming. Generally accepted as safe for dogs, children’s liquid Benadryl in a small quantity may work for your Morkie. Don’t give it to him, however, if he’s taking other medications and be sure to get the regular kind, NOT sugar-free. The Xylitol in sugar-free formulas is highly dangerous for dogs. (Download a free info sheet about Benadryl for dogs here.)
D.A.P. or dog appeasing pheromones are used to keep your dog calm under stressful situations. A popular brand is Adaptil, which comes with an electric diffuser. Other formats are also available, like a wearable collar scent. Read more here.
Strategy #4: Help your Morkie get used to loud sounds
Well-known dog trainer and therapist Victoria Stilwell offers four individual CDs which you play to your dog to help him get used to loud noises. Different types of loud sounds progressively increase over the course of the CDs. You can read more about this canine noise phobia treatment here.
July 4th for people
July 4th for dogs
3 things to avoid if your Morkie is afraid of fireworks
PetMD.com offers these sensible tips:
Don’t baby your dog. If you fuss over her too much, she may get confused and become more afraid. Or she could learn that she gets extra attention or yummy treats when she’s stressed. Act normally. You can play with her, feed or do other fun activities.
Don’t punish her. Do not lock her in a crate or tie her up. She could injure herself trying to get away from the scary sound. She may also believe she’s in trouble for being afraid. Fear is a behavior, not an obedience issue. Your dog isn’t doing anything wrong by being afraid — even if the noise seems harmless to you.
Don’t force her to gut it out. Making your dog endure the sounds — especially without trained supervision — could make things worse.
And one more way to help your Morkie to stay calm
A brisk walk before the festivities begin is always a good idea – “a tired dog is a good (and calm) dog.”