Fur Babies and Fireworks!

Last Update: July 04, 2016

Happy 4th of July to everyone here in the USA! It is a fun day for cookouts, going to the beach, and watching or displaying fireworks.

But for our dogs, this can be the scariest evening of the year! Please consider keeping your pets indoors during this time.

While fireworks are fun for humans, the loud, unexpected sounds of fireworks cause stress and anxiety for many dogs. Here are some important things to know about why your dog gets anxious and what you can do to help.

1. It’s normal if your dog gets scared. While we humans have learned to expect fireworks around the Fourth of July, the sound of fireworks can be quite startling for dogs.

2. After all, your dog has keen senses that make fireworks a more intense experience. Your dog’s acute hearing makes him more sensitive to the sounds of fireworks than you are. Fireworks also produce an odor that dogs may be sensitive to.

3. During fireworks, your dog experiences the same kind of startled response you do when you’re surprised by a loud noise. This may mean an increase in heart rate, a rush of adrenaline, and an increase in stress hormones circulating through the body.

4. For your dog, fireworks aren’t the same experience as a thunderstorm. Thunderstorms come with a lot of warning signs, like changes in barometric pressure and high winds, so dogs anticipate them. Since fireworks are sudden and occur less frequently than thunderstorms, dogs might be more intimidated by them.

5. There are plenty of dogs who aren’t afraid of fireworks. It might be because they’re naturally easy-going, or it might be because they were exposed to enough noises when they were young that they understand that fireworks aren’t a threat.

6. If you start early, you can help lower your dog’s sensitivity to the sound of fireworks. If you know there are going to be fireworks in your area, you can help prepare your dog by exposing him to recorded firework sounds.

7. If you start really early, you might be able to desensitize your dog to a lot of loud noises. If you expose your dog to noises like fireworks, thunder, car horns and train whistles in a positive manner when he’s between 3 weeks and 3-months-old, he’s more likely to be unfazed by noises later in life.

8. No time? Create a special area in your home where your dog can feel safe and secure during the noise. If your dog is crate trained then he may feel most secure in his crate with a nice chew toy to occupy his time. If she’s not crate-trained, putting her bed in a calm place during the fireworks might work. Try closing the windows and playing some music or turn on television.

9. Help your dog feel happy during fireworks. Why not give your dog a special treat or his favorite toy? It might help to create positive associations with fireworks.

10. Calming wraps and thundershirts may help for some dogs, too. These work like swaddling does for infants – they make your dog feel secure during stressful situations.

11. The most important thing you can do is stay calm. Making a big fuss around the dog only reassures him that there is a good reason to panic. Dogs look at us for reassurance so showing them that we are calm and relaxed is likely to help the dog understand that there is no real danger.

Everyone have a fantastic, safe evening, and remember to take care of those cute little fur babies!

Hugs ~

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bbqfirepit Premium
Great advice. Especially not to make a fuss and cuddle them but rather stay calm during the fireworks etc. The cuddling and telling them its going to be ok the whole time just reinforces the fear. Their pack animals and look to us for direction. If we now go fuss over it they see oh i get attention so therefore my leaders want me to be afraid. I know we mean well but that has the opposite effect. Be there for them yes, but dont cuddle and such, ignore the fireworks and they see hey my leader isnt afraid of this so maybe its not so bad. Even Ceaser the dog expert advises this method. We looked after two tiny dogs last night. One of them is afraid of the entire world. So we tried this method last night....worked like a charm! He was still a bit afraid because the owner has used the cuddling making a fuss method for a number of years so this is what he knows from her leadership. But he was a whooooole lot better last night. And very happy this morning! Sorry for the long comment but i love animals and see people doing this wrong all the time. Thank you...
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DPolny Premium
Yes, and not just pups. My daughter had a bunny that had a heart attack as a result of fireworks:( Many animals are freaked by fireworks!
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halinphilly Premium
I really feel for some of those poor fur babies during Independence Week. My sister's dog goes absolutely out of her mind during thunderstorms and fireworks. I've always been fortunate enough to have dogs that pretty much ignore thunder, lighting and loud noises. I think they follow my lead. I'm the "pack leader" so I just act like nothing's happening and distract them with squeaky toys and cookies.
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cosmicradio Premium
Dogs must hate the 4th. Around here it's not just the 4th, either. People shoot off fireworks for about a week straight. :)
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SadieChan Premium
Thanks Diane, Great advice, I have a dog who is scared of Thunder too.
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AlexEvans Premium
I hope everyone has a lovely and safe time and they remember their pets well being, thanks for the reminder Diane.
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stevecox Premium
Great and USEFUL advice Diane !
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MPollock Premium
Thanks so much for posting this, people need to be aware of the animal and firework problem. I Love fireworks, but I love my dogs more. so i will spend part of my night cuddling my Saintber Newfie to keep him calm tell the fireworks are over. which ends up being about 2.00 am, Most people keep their big dogs outside, My Newfie has his own bed room.
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dianegailit Premium
I am not sure why people would even have their dogs outside. Two out of Three of my dogs are frightened of the fireworks. My Crested hides under the dining room table and my Maltese sits next to me shivering and panting. I have 2 thunder shirts, but they really have not worked for my babies. We just have to keep them comfortable until morning.
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MPollock Premium
Thats what we do, my wife lets the shiatzu snuggle with her and I take care of Titan, he weighs 198 and is only 2 1/2 years old.
Good luck tonight.
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paulgoodwin Premium
people who have pets - PLEASE take care
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dianegailit Premium
Our pets stay safe at home, but some people do not see or know the danger. Dogs are very fearful of fireworks and we need to take good care of our babies.
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paulgoodwin Premium
That is how accidents happen people who are not caring!!!
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LisaFranks Premium
Thank you for spreading this message, Diane. Pets do tend to get scared by fireworks, thunder, loud noises, etc...Even cars can scare them (not the horns just the sound of the engine). That is because their hearing is so acute, it becomes far worse than what we hear.
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dianegailit Premium
Any sudden loud noise can startle them, but I think fireworks are the scariest! We are home tonight with our 3 little fur babies :-)
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Dreamer56 Premium
I have one dog that freaks out he gets a Benadryl the other one it bothers not at all. Enjoy Diane!
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dianegailit Premium
I have 2 that are freaked out with fireworks but my little 10-month-old, 5 lb.Papillon has no fear at all :-)
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RTejeda Premium
I love those pictures. Happy 4th July, Diane.
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dianegailit Premium
Thank you, Rosa! :-)
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ChrisScott Premium
Happy Fourth.
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dianegailit Premium
Happy 4th to you!
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ChrisScott Premium
:-}
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JudeP Premium
Happy 4th July Diane :)
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dianegailit Premium
Thank you, Jude! :-)
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