July Fireworks

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For many dogs, the fireworks that accompany some holidays can make these celebrations a nightmare. No one knows exactly why some dogs are scared of fireworks, but it is probably a fear they developed during their development as a puppy.

Most fireworks make some kind of loud sound. It’s one of the reasons we love them! These sounds naturally startle dogs, however, especially since they have a more acute sense of hearing than humans. What you can do about it. For those with dogs-and-fireworks issues, keep your dog indoors away from the noise, ideally in a room where you can turn on music or white noise to drown out those startling sounds.

Other things that scare dogs come with warnings (think thunderstorms or trips to the vet). But from a dog’s perspective, fireworks disrupt an otherwise enjoyable evening with loud and random pops, bangs and screeches—and without warning! So rather than ask, “Why are dogs scared of fireworks?” maybe the real question is, why wouldn’t dogs be startled by them? What you can do about it. You can help prepare your dog by exposing him to recorded firework sounds. The only downside is that you’ll need to start months in advance and, over time, gradually increase the volume while rewarding your dog for keeping calm.

Because fireworks are loud and unexpected, many dogs perceive them as a real threat, which triggers their “flight” response. They may even show signs of anxiety and restlessness, like panting, whining and pacing. What you can do about it. A calming, comforting presence can make all the difference for our dogs. Stay close and make sure you’re putting off positive, relaxed energy. After all, getting upset or anxious won’t help our dogs, and fireworks aren’t a real threat to them anyway.

There are many products and things we can do to help our dogs during fireworks. Foremost is to keep them inside, preferably in a quiet room with white noise. You can try a ThuderShirt or other calming wrap. These are designed to help them feel secure in stressful situations.

In some situations, your pet may be so anxious that they may need medications. Consult with your veterinarian as to what is best for your pet during this fireworks season. There are many choices from homeopathic medications to prescription medications.