Dogs and Fireworks Are NOT a Good Mix
Before you head out for a fireworks display, please find a way NOT to take your dog with you. A fear of fireworks is commonplace for dogs. They find the loud noise and bright displays of light truly frightening.The good news is that there are a few things you can do to help your dog make it through the Fourth of July festivities.
- Don’t change your behavior. Many people feel compelled to baby their dogs when the dog is showing signs of fear. We pet them more than usual, cuddle them, and talk to them in soft voices. Rather than easing a dog’s fears, however, this often reinforces the dog’s fearful behaviors.
- Try not to react to the fireworks yourself. If you jump or tense up when you hear fireworks because you are anticipating your dog’s fear, you may make his fear worse. Your body language can tell a dog that there is a reason to be afraid.
- Drown out the sound of the fireworks. Try to turn up the radio or television and keep your windows closed during the fireworks. If the weather permits, a fan or air conditioner (if your dog isn’t afraid of those sounds) can help, too.
- Don’t push your dog past his comfort zone. Allow him to hide if he feels more comfortable in his crate or under a bed. Don’t pull him out or try to force him closer to the fireworks in an attempt to get him used to the sounds. This may result in an increase in fear, and a frightened dog may become aggressive if pushed past his comfort level.
In the case of a severe phobia, nothing may work to ease your dog’s fear. If there’s a chance your dog make exhibit this level of fear, talk to your veterinarian about medication. He may be able to prescribe an anti-anxiety medication or sedative to keep your dog calm during the fireworks.
There are two suggestions I can make for dog owners. One is to make sure their tags with phone numbers attached are on their dog in case the dog runs off which happens often during the Fourth of July. And lastly, do NOT bring your dog to a fireworks display. A very calm dog may all of a sudden react to a loud boom of fireworks and totally change its demeanor and could become aggressive.
Fireworks and dogs are not a good idea even in your own backyard. You may love your pet but it will love you more for not taking him or her to the Fourth of July Festivities.