Fourth of July is that time of year where your family gathers to indulge in yummy food and drinks and enjoy each other’s company. The kids are looking forward to the fireworks planned later at night, but your dog may not be as excited. Dogs and fireworks don’t usually go well together, so how do you make sure they’re okay?
We always want to make sure our dogs feel safe, even when exciting fireworks are happening outside. With this guide, we’ll help you understand why dogs are scared of fireworks and how you can help keep them calm during a firework show!
Why Are Dogs Scared of Fireworks?
You may have grown up around fireworks and become accustomed to the thundering booms. We set off fireworks to celebrate holidays or when your favorite sports team wins the championship. However, these celebrations don’t apply to dogs, and the fireworks may hurt their sensitive hearing.
Here are some of the main reasons dogs may be scared of fireworks.
Fireworks are Noisy
Have you ever been startled by a random, sudden noise? Loud, unpredictable noises can spook anyone, including your dogs. There are always a few fireworks that are so ear-splitting, it spooks people and pets alike and sets off every car alarm on the block.
In that brief moment, the sudden boom can trigger stress and anxiety in your dog. Whereas people can usually overcome it right away, dogs don’t understand fireworks and will feel scared.
A dog’s sense of hearing is far more sensitive than a person’s hearing. On average, a dog’s hearing is four times as sensitive as our hearing. So while the fireworks are already loud for us, fireworks can be especially frightening for our dogs.
The boom of the fireworks can trigger the survival instinct in your dog. Loud noises activate the fight-or-flight response, which will usually cause your dog to hide or run away.
The fight-or-flight instinct is a natural response to a dangerous situation. When fireworks go off, dogs feel like they are in danger, causing them to panic and display anxious behavior.
Dogs cannot respond by fighting the source of the loud noise, so they are more likely to run away in an attempt to escape the blasting sound.
Most phobias can be traced back to when your dog was a puppy. An adopted dog might have experienced a traumatic event involving loud noises when it was a pup.
Fourth of July or New Year’s fireworks are celebrated everywhere in the United States. Early socialization is incredibly important to give your pup as many new experiences as possible.
You can practice desensitization with your dog to help them get used to loud noises. Start with quieter firework sounds and gradually work your way louder. You can even encourage your dog with treats and praise to associate fireworks with rewards!
What Makes a Dog Bark at Fireworks?
Dogs bark to express their emotions and feelings! They might bark or howl to display affection or to grab your attention. Since fireworks can trigger their fear and anxiety, they bark at them because they perceive it as a threat.
A dog’s bark can be intimidating to potential trespassers. It is loud and scary enough to scare people and other animals. Unfortunately, it will not stop fireworks from setting off, so your dog might display one of these symptoms.
- Barking, howling, and whining
- Sudden urination
If you notice any of the signs, your dog is trying to tell you that they are scared. You can use this time to help them calm down, which can be a great bonding experience for the both of you!
Is Every Dog Breed Scared of Fireworks?
No, not all breeds are afraid of fireworks. Larger dogs may not be as jumpy or fearful as smaller breeds. Dogs will also have different upbringings and personalities that will affect how they respond to various stressors.
There aren’t specific breeds that are more scared of fireworks than others. Some may be naturally unbothered, while others are instantly on alert. Dog breeds classified as hunting dogs might be more desensitized to loud noises because of the rifle shots they are accustomed to hearing.
What Percentage of Dogs Are Scared of Fireworks?
A study conducted in 2013 by the University of Bristol found that almost half of all dog owners reported signs of fear when their dog was exposed to loud noises. The most common loud noises listed were:
With the advancement of fireworks technology, the crazy pyrotechnics you see today may cause even more problems with dogs than ever before. Even the bravest dogs might flinch at the neighbor’s (illegal) fireworks.
How Do I Calm My Dog During Fireworks?
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help your dog stay calm during festive celebrations. With enough time and patience, your dog might be able to handle loud noises from fireworks. Here are some steps you can take before, during, and after a fireworks show!
Unless you live far away from the city or on an extremely quiet street, it’s almost impossible to completely get away from July 4th or New Year’s celebrations. Here are a few training tips you can try when your dog is young to make it easier for them in the future!
- Desensitization: One effective way to prepare your dog for fireworks is by slowly exposing them to firework noises. Play firework noises in the background at a low volume and gradually work your way up over time. If the dog responds negatively at first, lower the sound and try again. You want to get to the point where your dog doesn’t react even when the firework sounds are played loudly.
- Exercise: Some dog owners prepare their dogs for a night of fireworks by increasing exercise before. Exercise can help tire your dog out and make them less likely to pace around in anxiety. They may not have any energy and will completely knock out by the time the fireworks start going off.
- Doggy Day-Care: If your dog’s firework phobia is too strong, then it could be best if you allow your dog to stay at a pet daycare for the night. These centers provide dogs with quality care and will know how to calm the dogs down. Your dog might also get distracted from the noise by playing with other dogs.
Responsible dog owners should also invest in proper identification for their dogs if they run away and go missing. Dogs are more likely to run away on Independence Day than on any other day of the year. You can give them a collar with your contact information on it or even microchip your dog so that you can easily track them using GPS.
Some dogs can be extremely perceptive and sense the excitement going around the house. Your dog may already be displaying signs of anxiety if they aren’t sure what’s going. Here are some tips to help them manage their stress while fireworks are going off.
- Calming Vest: Some dogs feel better when they are wearing a vest designed to ease their stress. It can be any piece of clothing or dog vest that you find online. Some vests are tight enough to imitate a warm embrace or hug, which can help them feel more at peace.
- Safe Spaces: Give your dog a safe refuge with their favorite toys where they can be more at ease. Some dog owners also play white noise or cover a doghouse with a thick blanket to try and mute the sounds. Having an area where the dog can retreat when they feel overwhelmed is a good idea in general!
- Staying Calm: If you display relaxed behavior during fireworks, your dog may be motivated to do the same. Dogs care for their owners and will often match their energy. If they see that the “threat” is not affecting you in any way, then they might also calm down a little bit.
- CBD Products for Dogs: CBD products are extremely popular among pet owners because of the many soothing and relaxing benefits they provide. Many owners report having a far less anxious and nervous dog after giving them tasty calming treats, even when the fireworks are right outside their house.
After a long night of fireworks and celebrations, you might notice your dog is easing up and feeling less tense. Here are some great things you can do after the fireworks have died down to make sure your dog is okay.
- Increase Affection: Most people are already affectionate toward their pets. It might help your dog feel at ease if you give them a few extra snuggles and spend an extra fifteen minutes playing with them. They might also associate loud noises with extra love afterward and become less afraid the next time fireworks go off!
- Pamper Your Dog: Take your dog on a trip to the park or a VIP grooming appointment. Drop some money on a brand new toy or give them some delicious new treats. Make them feel brand new that they have all but forgotten about the scary experiences the night before.
- Consult with a Vet: In some cases, your dog may be feeling extra rattled afterward. If none of the previous suggestions work, you can consult a vet or a professional to learn other great ways to deal with the fear.
Is It Okay To Give My Dog CBD for Fireworks?
Yes, CBD products are great and perfectly safe to give to your dog! CBD has amazing soothing and therapeutic qualities that may help your dog deal with their fear of loud noises. In addition, the many other benefits can boost your dog’s overall wellness!
- Eases nervous behaviors
- Provides comfort/relieves discomfort
- Promotes better sleep
- Boosts appetite and digestion
Stay better equipped to help your dog deal with fireworks with HolistaPet’s all-natural and 100% organic CBD products!
- CBD Calming Chews for Dogs: Available in a delicious peanut butter flavor, these soft and easy-to-eat treats contain other calming ingredients like chamomile to keep them relaxed.
- CBD Dog Treats: One of our best-selling products, these treats will soon become your dog’s favorite snack. These treats come in a tasty green apple and peanut butter flavor that your dog is sure to love. It also includes key ingredients like L-theanine, which helps ease the tension caused by fireworks.
- CBD Oil for Dogs: CBD oil for pets is one of the most versatile CBD products you can get. You can add a few drops of CBD oil directly to your dog’s favorite treat, food, or directly in their mouth. It helps to have some on hand during a firework show.
Can Dogs Be Traumatized By Fireworks?
Yes, unfortunately, dogs can develop trauma from fireworks. The majority of noise sensitivity in dogs is from fireworks or thunder.
Noise phobia in dogs can worsen and lead to an increase in nervous behaviors if you ignore the early signs. Fireworks are the number one cause of noise phobias, so you should take care to comfort them as much as possible!
Final Thoughts – Dogs and Fireworks
Dogs and fireworks are like water and oil because they don’t mix well. If you find your dog struggling with loud noises, hopefully these tips help you manage their nervous behaviors a little better. As long as your dog feels safe, it won’t be too hard to keep them calm!