With it being a day of celebration and a night full of fireworks and loud noises, many dogs are afraid of the loud booms that are put off by the fireworks. We have put this blog together to make sure you help keep your furry friends safe during the 4th of July.
Why Are Dogs Afraid of Fireworks?
On July 4th, more pets run away than any other day of the year. You need to be mindful of that, so it’s critical to ensure people can identify your dog and contact you if he runs off because he or she is scared. Now is an excellent time to think about getting them microchipped. It’s also a good idea to attach identification tags to their collars. Make sure you have their name, your name, and phone number on the ID tags.
Below are four reasons your dog may be afraid of fireworks.
1. Fireworks are Loud
Most fireworks make some loud sounds. 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 it’s just another day for your dog. Those firecrackers come without warning. The loud noises and flashing lights sound and look different each time. Plus, they come at various intervals, so dogs can’t get used to them.
3.They Pose a Threat
The noise and unpredictability of fireworks lead many dogs to perceive them as a threat, which triggers their fight-or-flight response. Your dog may bark at the noises or try to run away and hide. Your dog may show other signs of anxiety, like restlessness, panting, pacing, and even 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 Furry Friends Safe
Remember CAAPS: Communicate, Acclimate, Accommodate, Prepare, Sedate.
Be sure to send a calming message that they have nothing to worry about, and this will help him, or her relax during the fireworks. While humans communicate with words, dogs communicate with energy and will look to their pack leader (that is, you) for clues on how they should behave. If you’re not making a big deal or showing excitement about the fireworks, he will learn to be less concerned.
You’re a good pack leader by not exposing them to a situation that will negatively trigger their flight instinct. When the booms and bangs of Independence Day are over, your dog will be grateful to you for making it a less stressful experience!
The best way to prepare your dog for fireworks is to make sure he’s comfortable with the sound in advance.
While this is a simple process, it can take time — possibly three or four months of playing the recorded sound of fireworks for your dog at an increasingly louder volume before he eats, before a walk, and before affection and play. This will condition him by the association to hear the sound and interpret it as something good.
If you cannot take your dog to a place away from the fireworks, then have a travel kennel at home to feel safe. If you’re not going to be home, have a friend or sitter there to keep your dog company and make them feel secure.
If you know that you are going to have fireworks and your dog is afraid of them, arrange to have your dog in a place where there won’t be big fireworks displays. Like a friend’s or relative’s home or even a doggie daycare with which your dog is familiar. If it’s an unfamiliar place for your dog, take him over there a few times before the holiday so that it won’t be a surprise when you take him there on the Fourth.
If you find it necessary to sedate or medicate your dog during the fireworks, remember that you must introduce it at the right time. You are conditioning your dog to understand that the medication is there to bring them to a calm state.
You must bring your dog to that calm state first, then introduce the medication — before the fireworks and the anxiety begin. If she is already at an anxiety level of 8 or 9, then her mental state will overrule the medication. The challenge is knowing how and when to give them the medicine to make them relax.
We suggest Melatonin. Melatonin is a natural supplement for dogs that helps them relax, and you can find it at any health food store. Give your dog from 1 to 4 mg, depending on body weight, and try to give it a little ahead of the fireworks, if possible.
Happy Independence Day! Be sure to share with us your photos from your 4th of July celebration! We want to see all those happy puppy dogs! #4thofJuly #4thwithourdog #independenceday @vitalpetlife