Why Your Dog Is Afraid of Fireworks And How to Keep Them Calm

Fireworks

The Fourth of July is a holiday that almost every American anticipates each year. The gathering of family and friends at barbecues and pool parties and attending the fireworks displays are just a few of the enjoyable moments during that festive time. But have you ever given thought to our furry friends who might not feel the same way we do about the festivities, specifically the fireworks?

For many pet owners, they realize that their dogs and fireworks just do not mix. Put simply, we call that “dog fireworks anxiety.”

What is Dog Fireworks Anxiety?

Dog Fireworks Anxiety is the feeling of fear and nervousness that a dog experiences during a firework show. It is the same kind of anxiety that we, as humans, experience anytime we are put in an uncomfortable or stressful situation. Dogs’ heart rates increase just as ours do, and they experience a rush of adrenaline with an increase in their stress hormones throughout their body. If your dog has not been exposed to loud sounds growing up, they will have a much harder time adjusting to it as an adult dog.

Because dogs have a keen sense of hearing, they are extremely sensitive to the loud sounds of the fireworks. What makes a dog even more anxious is that it is unexpected. We know fireworks are to be expected around the Fourth of July, but will not be prepared for it. Therefore, it is important to know some dog fireworks tips to keep your pup safe and comfortable during the loud booms of the Fourth.

Dog Fireworks Tips

  • It is best to start off slowly when it comes to introducing your pup to loud sounds. If there is a thunderstorm, convince them that it is okay, even simply encouraging them to sit beside you instead of running to hide. If you let them know they are okay when you are calm, it will make them calmer as well.
  • During a fireworks display, take them to a nearby location, away from the crowds and loud sounds, and let them experience the fireworks in a quieter location. This might still startle them, but it will start to condition them to the noises. By going somewhere with less people and quieter noises, you can sit with them and assure them that it is nothing to be afraid of.
  • Start to introduce them early (as puppies) to louder noises. This usually desensitizes them to loud noises, and it lessens their anxiety. This helps with thunderstorms as well!
  • If your dog is still not receptive to the idea of being around when the fireworks are going off, it is best to create a quiet space for them inside. If he has a crate that he goes into or a quiet area where he sleeps, he will probably want to go there. If you do not have a designated space for your dog, you will want to create one to lessen his anxiety. Even putting him in a quiet room and closing the doors and windows will make things a little more comfortable for your pup. Sometimes turning on the TV or some soft music will dull out the outside sound helping him to stay calm as well.

As fun as the fireworks can be for all of us, it is not always the same for dogs. It is important that you know if your dog is anxious or scared of the fireworks, and if so, keep them at home. You want the very best for your furry friend, and looking out for their best interest is the best thing you can do as a dog owner.

Categories: All Posts, Dogs, Holidays, Pet Safety