I’m going to let you hoomans in on a little secret. Even huge hounds like me and Mozart are afraid of fireworks (and other sudden, loud noises). We may look big and tough, but deep down inside, we’re terrified when the booms go off in the sky. During this time of year, dogs like us often get lost when trying to run and hide from the scary sounds. If you want to keep that from happening, here are some helpful tips.

Lots of Play

The first big, helpful tip is to tire your dog out before the festivities begin. Go on a long walk, play an extended game of fetch, get a new toy to keep them busy, or take them for a swim at the lake. Do everything you can to help your dog expend the energy he or she would need to shiver and shake when the fireworks show begins. With any luck, we’ll sleep right through the celebrations.

Leave Us at Home

If your dog has shown fear at fireworks in the past, don’t take them outside to see the show. Especially don’t take us into public places where we’ll also have to deal with a lot of strangers on top of the loud noises. Instead, let us sleep away the evening in our crates, surrounding by all our favorite toys.

Invest in a Thundershirt

Sometimes the easiest way to comfort us when we’re nervous is with a big hug. We know you can’t be there to hold us all the time, and that’s why a thundershirt is a great idea. This is like a big, never-ending hug when your arms aren’t available.

Check Fences, Gates, and Doors

Our first reaction when we’re scared is to run, so be sure any exit from your house or yard is fully secure. Remember that big dogs are often also strong dogs, so an extra strong latch on the gate is a must. Don’t set anything near the fence that we could use to climb over, either. Also, check that windows are closed, even if you have a screen. We can push right through that and take off if we’re worried enough. And always close the doggie doors tightly!

Your buddies don’t want to run away from you, but we sometimes do silly things when we’re scared. Just in case none of these tactics work, be sure your best friend is microchipped. A good, strong collar with a tag that shares all your contact information is the fastest way to get us back if we make a run for it.

Above all, give us lots of hugs and pats when you’re around. Let us know that, no matter how scared we get, you’re here for us. That’s all we really need to know.

Expect big things!