There’s nothing like a loud explosion to kick holidays and festivities off.
Whether it’s New Year, thanksgiving, Bonfire night, a birthday, Independence Day, a wedding or a celebration, fireworks can make the event that extra bit special.
However, one thing that isn’t that special is the disturbances dogs can face during fireworks.
Why do fireworks upset dogs?
The truth is, there’s no one reason why your dog might be scared and upset by fireworks; there are a few, which are:
Fireworks are incredibly loud, and the slightest of bangs can really hurt your canine’s ears. Dogs have a lot more sensitive hearing than we do and can hear better than us.
To give you an idea, according to the American Kennel Club, the average human can hear sounds less than 20,000 Hz, whereas dogs can hear sounds above 47,000 up to 60,000 hertz. Therefore repetitive sounds from fireworks can cause a lot of damage to their ears and invoke a sense of fear.
Dogs thrive off routine and love to know what to expect from their day. On the other hand, fireworks create elements of unpredictability, causing them distress. Just think about it; fireworks come with no prior warning to their loud noises or flashing lights.
Create a sense of threat
Fireworks and firecrackers can trigger your dog’s fight or flight response due to them piercing them as a threat. When dogs see fireworks, they often try to bark at them, run away or hide due to the danger they feel.
Sometimes they will display common signs of anxiety-like panting, pacing, whining, and restlessness. In addition to this, fireworks can make a dog feel trapped as when they feel threatened; they have nowhere to run away or hide.
How to calm your dog down during fireworks
Now you have a basic understanding of why dogs become easily disturbed during fireworks, let’s look at some possible solutions. To try and make them calmer you can try doing the following:
Create a safe space
Every dog in their home should have a designated safe space. A safe space is ideal for canines as it works as a shelter allowing them to feel safe from outside noises.
The safe space could be a caved bed, kennel, underneath a table, warm bathroom, bedroom, or anything your dog feels comfortable with. In their safe space, make sure you include some favorites like chew toys, treats, and a blanket. Plus, when the fireworks do occur, make sure no one disturbs your dog while they’re in their safe space.
Shower your dog with affection
As you are your dog’s guardian, you must make them feel comfortable during the fireworks. You might hear from other owners comments like not to comfort your dog during fireworks because they are fearful, but this is a myth.
When your dog is scared, and you provide them comfort, this assures them you’re there to help. Just think of what you would do when a child is crying and apply it to your dog. Remember to be reassuring, provide them with plenty of strokes and cuddles.
Distract your dog
One excellent way of making them less scared and calming them down is by distracting them while the fireworks occur. For example, you might want to get your dog’s favorite chew toy and pull the end, creating a tug of war game. Moreover, you could even treat your dog to getting new gifts like a dog bone or Kong toy to chew or lick.
Play white noise
Another way you could try getting your dog to be calm is by using white noise to block out the noise caused by fireworks. Often white noise or sounds from the tv, air conditioning, fan, radio, or anything else might soothe and distract your dog. Another good option is to play classical music or noise from a white noise machine for dogs for the entire duration of the fireworks.
Another option you may want to consider is desensitizing your dog to fireworks. This could be particularly beneficial for when fireworks do eventually occur. The best way to do this is to start playing firework noises around the house on a low level while giving your dog treats. Over time this will allow your dog to associate firework sounds with a positive experience.
Do note that calming your dog during fireworks is not a one size fits all method. It may take multiple attempts through trial and error to realize the best solution to calm your dog down. Most importantly, if you feel like you cannot help calm your dog down, you may need to take them to see a veterinarian or behaviorist.
Sometimes these experts may prescribe your dog medication to help calm them down during the holidays. If you want, you can also try over the counter medications to calm your dog down, but this should be used as a last resort. If you choose to give your dog medication, then inform your vet first, so it does not interact with anything else they’re taking.
The best way to calm down your dog most of the time is through desensitization and providing them with lots of love and care during the fireworks.
Cover Photo Credits: Designecologist on Pexels
About the author: This article has been written by DogsPlanet, a website for dog lovers. Whether you are looking for information on dog breeds, advice before adopting a dog, articles on nutrition, health, training, name ideas and even fun facts, DogsPlanet is the right place for you.