Dogs and Fireworks

Dogs and fireworksMany dogs have serious issues of fear during storms and fireworks. Here in Egypt we are lucky with the storm part, yet very unlucky when it comes to fireworks.  You never know when, where and how long they happen. Not every dog suffers from anxiety and fear of fireworks; some develop fear at an elder age and some never. Please bear in mind that as soon as a puppy develops it’s hearing it is already 4 times as strong as human hearing, so imagine how loud those fireworks get for your pooch.

Here’s what to do if you have one of many dogs that suffer when fireworks go off in the neighborhood.

Here’s what to do during fireworks:

Never scold or shout to your dog for being scared. This can actually just worsen the whole situation and anxiety.  Do not push your dog away if he seeks to be close to you.

Yet also do not try to comfort your dog by cuddling and petting. This will send the message that the fear is welcomed and encouraged.

Act as if nothing is happening; give him a chance to copy your attitude towards fireworks. Give fireworks no attention at all.

Provide a safe den for your dog to retreat to. That could be, for example under the dining table or desk, best place your dogs bedding there and maybe also a worn piece of clothing with your scent on for comfort.

Keep windows and source of noise closed. Distract the dog with other sounds and noises such as calming music (search YouTube for relaxing music for dogs) or leave the TV on.

Make sure your dog has enough water. Being frightened makes them thirsty as they pant more.

Make sure your dog is wearing a dog tag, especially if you have an outdoor area or while taking evening walks. Many dogs react by running when hearing loud fireworks, looking for a safe den to hide or just as a reflex when being scared. This means they can escape the yard or garden into the streets or manage to get lose while being walked.
Many pet accessory shops make customized ID tags or make one yourself as per directions here.

Here’s what to do to help your dog:

Walk your dog at early dusk time before it gets dark enough for fireworks. A tired dog is a more relaxed dog.

Get your dog slowly used to sound of fireworks. Search online, you will find several YouTube channels with sounds of fireworks for dogs. Start by lower volumes during fun times; do not force it if the dog shows very strong negative reactions towards the lowest volumes.

Here’s what NOT to do:

Have your dog tied up during fireworks, not being able to search for safety or be close to you.

Lock your dog into a room far away from your presence.

Force your dog out of his retreat, den or safe place.  Instead give your dog the time needed to feel safe.