It’s easy to understand why your dog doesn’t like it when 4th of July or New Year’s Eve rolls around. It’s not the party hats or waving flags; it’s all about the fireworks. Face it, fireworks are loud, and they’re not just loud, they’re unpredictable. As soon as your dog thinks the danger has passed, it starts right back up again.

When it comes to dogs and the sound produced by fireworks it may be worse than you think. The upper range of human hearing is 75-80 decibels. For dogs, the range is 110-115 decibels. Fireworks can go up to 190 decibels. That means the sound is not only frightening for dogs, but it can also be dangerous. Add to that the fact that the noise comes in quick bursts, and you have the perfect recipe for distress.

Here are five things you can do to minimize the stress and difficulties that fireworks can pose for your dog (and you).

Keep your dog indoors

The very best thing you can do for your dog is to keep him or her indoors where it’s safe and quiet. It is very likely that your dog will feel threatened when the fireworks start. Running away is a very real risk. More dogs run away on the 4th of July than at any other time. If you will not be home, try not to leave your dog unattended. Having someone there, with whom he or she is familiar, will be helpful for your dog. You can also leave the T.V or radio on in the room with the dog to provide comfort and minimum the sound of the fireworks.

Create a comfortable spot

A confined area that your dog is accustomed to may help him or her get through the noise. A familiar blanket and pillow, along with favorite toys, can offer comfort. Crate trained dogs may enjoy their private area.

Getting exercise

Making sure your dog has gotten a good workout before the noise starts up may help make the evening easier. If your dog works off pent up energy through a long walk or run that can help them remain calm.

Communication

Talking with your pet and offering calming messages can reassure your dog. There are techniques available to help you communicate with your pet. Be sure to research these ahead of time and practice in advance so that you and your dog are familiar with the routine well in advance of the fireworks.

Consult with your vet

Your veterinarian is familiar with your dog and may be able to offer helpful advice on how to help your dog through this difficult time. In extreme cases, medication can help, but never medicate your dog without talking to your vet.

You know your dog better than anyone and are in the best position to make decisions about the best way to handle the stress that can come with an evening full of fireworks. Plan ahead, create a comfortable place for your dog, and try to remain calm. Your dog will take cues from you. With patience, you will both make it through safely.