Fireworks: Pretty But Traumatic to Dogs
Fireworks are pretty, but they are traumatic to dogs.
The Fourth of July is rapidly approaching. Many people LOVE fireworks, and find the noise and the spectacle of fireworks displays to be beautiful. You might even be one of those people who likes to program your own fireworks displays each year, and if you are, then you probably look forward to this time of the season all year long. Your dog, on the other hand, probably does not share in your excitement. Chances are, the loud noise and bright flashes of light do less to positively stimulate your dog, and more to confuse, disorient and panic them every year. Fear not, this is fairly common. After all how would you feel if you had no context for the situation and things just started exploding over your head, and in your very sensitive ears?
Knowing this, you may be asking “Why” and the answer really is pretty simple. To put things plainly, it boils down to the fact that your dog doesn’t know that it is the Fourth of July, or any other special holiday where fireworks might appear, and so lacking context, does not know what is happening when things start to go BOOM overhead. As far as your dog knows, this means danger and they should be scared of these loud noises and need to seek shelter.
For this reason, it is best to keep your dog inside. When there are fireworks overhead, don’t take your dog outside, and don’t bring them with you to larger events. The loud popping and banging could upset your dog, and agitate them. It could even scare them enough to cause them to run away from you, and become lost, or get hurt.
Even though you have decided to keep your dog indoors, they will still be able to hear the noise from the fireworks, and this may still spook them. If your dog is prone to anxiety attacks, this could definitely cause them to have an attack. Even dogs without much anxiety are prone to excessive whining, panting, and barking. They may act out, or even become aggressive in their confusion from the noise. Some well-trained dogs even become so scared that they lose control of their bowels and go to the bathroom inside the house. If this describes your dog, they may require some additional help in the form of anti anxiety medication. Consult with your vet well in advance of any firework-centric celebrations so that you are not caught in a situation where you need meds you do not have access to.
The best thing for you to do during this time of unease for your dog is to try to make them as comfortable as possible. You can do this by trying to find the quietest area in your home, and create a space for your dog wherever that may be. Usually a room on the interior of the house that does not have any windows works best for this.
Some dogs might need to be held, or feel swaddled during all of the commotion. You can achieve this through different methods, but we like using anxiety wraps so the dog can constantly feel comforted, even if it is not possible to be by the dog’s side. There are quite a few offerings on the market for dog anxiety wraps but there are a few brands that stand out to us here at KeepDoggieSafe.
We love the collection of therapeutic wraps from Healers. Healers offers a very wide variety of sizes for your dog, and also offers both full body wraps, and rear wraps so you can also utilize them as post surgical garments. Healers wraps also feature pockets in them, so that you may insert heating or cooling pads, as well as medicated gauze inserts in the event you are using this item as a post surgical wrap. They are made from a breathable material that allows for proper airflow while your dog is wearing the wrap.
Try not to leave your dog alone when they are scared. It will help them feel better if they have their person sitting next to them, comforting them, and giving them affection. You are a constant in your dog’s life so being near them during their time of unrest will provide something solid to ease their anxiety. If you are able, try to use some of their favorite toys or stuffed animals to distract them with play, so that they will not focus on the loud noises and flashes happening outside.
If you need to take your dog outside for a walk, you should plan accordingly on days or nights that there will be fireworks. If the two of you usually go for a night walk, then you should plan to walk your dog earlier in the day, before the fireworks start. The less time your dog has to spend outside the better.
One last precaution you should take, is to make sure that your dog’s ID tags and microchip data are up to date. Even though you are going to keep your dog inside, as far away from the fireworks as possible, they could still panic and get loose. You should make sure that your contact information is up to date, and easily displayed somewhere on their collar or tag, and if you have chipped your animal, make sure all of that information is also current so that if your dog does happen to get outside, you will be able to locate him.
Remember, a dog is not going to love fireworks nearly as much as you do. In fact, they are pretty traumatic for a lot of dogs, and cause dogs to act out due to the anxiety they are experiencing. This can result in a lot of awful situations from messes in the house, to lost dogs, or even uncharacteristically aggressive responses from a normally loving and docile dog. For these reasons you should go out of your way to make sure that your dog is as far away from any fireworks as possible.