Fireworks and Dogs. How to Keep Your Dog Calm
4 Reasons Dogs are Scared of Fireworks
1. They’re Loud - Most fireworks make some kind of loud sound. Dogs have a more acute sense of hearing than humans, so those loud booms, crackles and whistles are alarming.
2. They’re Unpredictable - You expect fireworks on holidays like the Fourth of July, but for your dog, it’s just another day. Those firecrackers come without warning. The loud noises and flashing lights sound and look different each time. Plus, they come at different intervals, so dogs can’t get used to them.
3. They Pose a Threat - The noise and unpredictability of fireworks leads many dogs to perceive them as a threat. This triggers their fight-or-flight response. Your dog may bark at the noises or try to run away and hide. He may show other signs of anxiety, too, like restlessness, panting, pacing and whining.
4. Fireworks Make Dogs Feel Trapped Fireworks are inescapable on holidays like Independence Day. So if the noises trigger your dog’s flight response, he will try to run from the threat. Unfortunately, there’s often nowhere to go, as you can still hear those loud booms indoors.
How to Keep Your Dog Safe & Calm During Fireworks
As you can see, dogs have good reasons to fear fireworks. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help your dog feel safe and secure.
- Keep Them Inside: Even if your dog spends most of their time outdoors, bring them inside during firework displays. This will prevent them from running away when they feel scared, which can put them in danger.
- Create a Safe Space: If your dog is crate-trained, make their crate available, as that’s probably already a safe space for them. If not, put them in a bathroom or other small room with music or white noise to help drown out the boom of fireworks. Bringing their bed, blankets and toys into the room can make them feel more comfortable.
- Desensitize: Start working with your dog far enough in advance to desensitize them to fireworks and other loud noises. You can start this process by playing fireworks sounds on a low level while playing with your dog and giving them treats. Over time, slowly increase the sound of the fireworks during these play sessions. Eventually, your dog will associate the sound of fireworks with happy and fun moments.
- Try CBD: For many conditions, such as anxiety, vets will typically prescribe powerful prescription medications that often have unpleasant side effects. In stark contrast, research has found that CBD has very few side effects—with many dog owners finding it can provide the same relief as prescription medications. CBD is available for dogs in a treat or oil in a puppy preferred peanut butter flavored.
- Try a Calming Wrap: Calming wraps, vests and shirts apply light, constant pressure. Many dogs find this soothing and calming. You may find such products help in other anxiety-inducing situations, like thunderstorms.
Not all dogs are afraid of fireworks, but it’s important to remember your dog will take cues from you. If you make a big deal out of them when he’s not scared, he may eventually develop anxiety about fireworks. So make an effort to keep your dog calm, but remember to remain calm yourself.
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