The most mirthful days of the year can become dreadful nightmares for your pet dogs because of fireworks. We all know how our canine friends react to loud mysterious sound and find a safe haven in the house.
So what can you do about it? Why do dogs get frightened of fireworks? I have churned out some reasons why this happens and how you can make your pooch feel more comfortable before your next celebration rolls out and scares him.
The reason why we love fireworks in the first place is we get thrilled and amazed by the booming and blasting sounds with bursting bright lights. But for dogs, any unfamiliar loud noise is a signal of threat by an unknown entity. Their higher sensitivity to sound than humans make them stay alert all the times for any unknown loud sound. Moreover, dogs can’t comprehend that the scary noise is actually of a firework and doesn’t possess any danger to them. You can also compare fireworks fear with their fear of thunder and lightning on rainy days. Both have fairly similar effects on them.
A simple solution to mitigate the fear and anxiety is to keep your Fido in his room with all the doors and windows closed, and curtains dropped. Play your dog’s favorite music and drown out the fearful fireworks sound.
Dogs can understand how their hoomans are feeling and with some experience, they get accustomed to party and celebrating sounds. But sudden fireworks booming and lights coming out from nowhere scare them because dogs are clueless of what’s happening.
Most dogs don’t get anxious on the loud thuds of partying, jumping, and screeching because they don’t get startled by the sound. But it’s quite different when it comes to fireworks. If you think from a dog’s perspective, you would wonder why fireworks wouldn’t startle them!
It is possible that your dog doesn’t fear fireworks. There is a method to make your dog used to with startling fireworks sound called desensitizing. Remember that, you need to initiate desensitizing 2-3 months before your dog is exposed to fireworks sound.
Sudden and unexpected sound make them feel like it’s a real threat. And this threat triggers the “flight” response in them. And as a result of that, your pooch might show restlessness, anxiety, drooling, panting, whining, and pacing.
There is no direct solution to this problem as you cannot stop fireworks or cannot help your dog understand the threat is not real unless you desensitize him. But you can try the solution discussed in the next section which will definitely help your dog feel better.
Moreover, this situation makes you baby your pet more than ever to ease up his fear. You would want to cuddle them more and want to talk to them in soft voices. But as a matter of fact, you should avoid doing this as it will reinforce their fearful behavior. Instead, just be normal around them so that your dog would feel like his human is not frightened and there is not a real threat.
When the “flight” response triggers in the dog, he will try to find a way to escape the threat but apparently, he cannot, at least until the fireworks stop. This keeps adding to his anxiety and fear for eternity.
Here is what you can do about it. If your friend’s place is familiar to your pooch and it is in the area of the city where fireworks are rare, this can be the best option for your dog to spend his Fourth.
When the threats in the form of fireworks don’t seem to stop, the dog feels he is trapped and vulnerable to unknown dangers. Dogs tend to find a safe place where he can hide, such as, under a bed, sofa, or into his crate.
I always recommend you use a soundproof dog crate so that when he enters the crate, he will feel comfortable and not vulnerable anymore. There are some good soundproof dog crates available on market.
Fireworks and lightning during rainy season have quite similar scary effects on a dog. Knowing why the sound of fireworks and thunderstorm make them anxious will help you understand what you can do about it. However, there are two ultimate solutions I see working are 1. Let your doggy spend the celebration time where fireworks are rare and 2. Spending time in a soundproof dog crate. If you know some other ways to tackle this problem other than those discussed in this article, let us know about it in the below comment section.
Clara Lou is Co-founder and the Head of Marketing at Petlovesbest.com. Pet Loves Best is a one-stop solution for all your pet supplies shopping and pet-related queries.