Dogs and Fireworks: 5 Things You Need to Know to Protect Your Pet

Celebrations and holidays like the July 4th holiday and New Year's Eve bring a familiar sight for dog owners in the US. While the fireworks go up and everyone celebrates, dogs cower in fear from the noise and festivities. The loud noise, bright lights, and the general elements are not conducive to dogs at all. Accustomed to quiet and tranquil environments, pets tend to become anxious with all the noise and commotion. If you noticed that your dogs and fireworks didn't mix this year, here are five dogs and fireworks tips you need to know to make next year's festivities go smoothly!

Set Up a Quiet Space in Your House For Dogs and Fireworks

Dogs are, by default, den animals. They like to have places where they can go, seek shelter, and feel safe. When the loud noises and fireworks are raging in the sky, your dog's first instinct is to find a place to shelter and feel safe. Unfortunately, with fireworks being audible throughout the house, that's easier said than done. 

If you have nervous dogs and fireworks that you know will be visible and loud in the sky, pick a place beforehand to construct a little haven for your pet. It doesn't have to be big, but try and make a tent, fort, or something else to seek shelter. To reduce noise, try and put it away from walls and windows (a room in the center of the basement works best for this). If you can make it sound-proof in any way, that's even better!

When the fireworks come, you can direct your dog to this space to calm them down.

Consider a White Noise Generator

White noise generators are unique electronic devices that output static noise shown scientifically to drown out other sounds. Think about an air conditioner or fan, for example. After a while, you likely barely notice their noises. Yes, it's still blowing, but after enough time, your brain learns to ignore that noise as "background noise" and only pay attention to the sound that matters. White noise generators act on a similar principle, countering active noise (like bangs) with passive background noise that your dog's brain can tune out.

If you don't have a white noise generator, you can always play this type of noise on your phone or speaker system. YouTube and similar sites have playlists dedicated to producing white noise.

Keep Your Dog Indoors

As part of fireworks and dog safety, when the fireworks start, keep them indoors. Taking them out for a walk or other activity can be risky. If your neighbors are lighting fireworks and your dog runs over, it could potentially be fatal. 

Your dog needn't even contact the fireworks themselves to get an injury. Sometimes, being terrified of these loud noises is enough to make pets do crazy things, including running through fences and becoming covered in blood.

Keep your dog indoors. Even letting your dogs out in the back yard to use the bathroom can be a bad idea if fireworks erupt at the wrong time.

Consider Playing Noises of Fireworks Before the Big Day

This technique is a little "riskier" than the other ones, but it can be quite useful. When you know you're going to have issues with dogs and fireworks, consider playing firework noises (softly, and increasing in volume) leading up to the big day. The idea behind this technique is that you will desensitize your pet to these noises and make them ambivalent about these noises when the real fireworks come (your dog will be like "this is nothing, I've heard that before!"). 

How well this works depends mainly on your pet's personality, but it can be worth a try if you feel that the noise of the fireworks is the only issue. With enough repetition, your dog should learn that these noises won't harm them.

Comfort Your Dog

When possible, comfort your dog as much as possible. Some dogs are a little too scared and will resist comforting, but others will want to be near you. Let your dog guide you. If they seek you out as comfort, one of the best dogs and fireworks tips is merely to stay with them and try and make them feel happy. 

Sometimes your dog will be so worked up that comforting them won't be an option, but if it is, you should take the opportunity to further the bond between you and your pet!

Dogs and Fireworks: A Volatile Combination that Happens Regularly

Unfortunately for pets, every six months or so, another holiday rolls around that require fireworks. If you have a pet that is sensitive to them, please consider these tips to protect your pet. With enough time, training, love, and comfort, you'll get your dog feeling better and able to handle the noise!

Why are dogs afraid of thunder and fireworks?

Like with humans, the noise (and the surprise behind the sound) is what is scary. Furthermore, dogs can sense the barometric pressure changes for thunderstorms, which furthers their sense of anxiety. From an evolutionary standpoint, this fear makes sense. In the wild, thunder and lightning would be a sign to seek shelter immediately. Unfortunately, that instinct translates over to fireworks, which doesn't have the same meaning.

How to calm down a dog during fireworks?

The best way to calm a dog down during fireworks is to be with them. Pet them with long, smooth, soothing strokes. Reassure them that everything will be alright and do what you can to shelter them from the loud noises!

What can I give my dog for fireworks anxiety?

You can give your dog some melatonin (1-4 mg) for their anxiety. However, you should consult with a veterinarian before giving your dog any drug or food to calm them down. If your dog has a severe case of noise aversion, your vet might prescribe the more potent SILEO drug. Unless your dog has a severe case of anxiety, though, often the best medicine isn't found in a pill bottle, but rather in you being there and comforting them!

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