dog's fear of fireworks
Dog mental and emotional health

Don’t let your dog’s fear of fireworks ruin his day

dog's fear of fireworks, dog afraid of fireworks
Dogs have reason to fear fireworks, with all the noise and bright lights.

Dogs HATE fireworks!

Your dog’s fear of fireworks and other loud noises is real! Their ears are so much more sensitive than ours, so the loud noises bother them more. Plus, dogs just don’t understand our need to have fireworks at all. It’s a scary time for them. Just because the fourth of July has passed doesn’t mean the noise and chaos are gone.

You don’t have to be the one shooting off the fireworks, either. Chances are you have a neighbor who shoots them off without any consideration for your dog’s fear. Even if we don’t shoot off any fireworks ourselves, most dogs are going to have to tolerate it one way or another.

dog's fear of fireworks
Dogs usually HATE fireworks!

How we react to our dog’s fear of fireworks has changed

When I was growing up, we had a rescued lab mix who was scared to death of fireworks. Every year, she would go hide in the closet, dig frantically, and be a drooly mess. We sort of thought it was weird, maybe laughed a little, but didn’t do anything about it. We didn’t know any better.

Now, looking back, I feel so sad for that girl. I wish we could have tried to help her feel better. We did the best we could at the time.

We’ve learned better ways

Fast forward to today. In those years, I’ve learned a few things. Now I watch how my dogs are doing and notice any changes in behavior.

We have a 10 year old Australian Shepherd named Sera, who hates loud noises. Ever since we got her as a 3 month old pup, she has been scared senseless of thunderstorms and fireworks.

This normally calm, friendly girl, will go hide under the bed or in the basement as soon as she hears anything scary. We can’t force her out without risking getting bit. It’s THAT bad. We’ve tried distracting music, thundershirts, essential oils, CBD oil, you name it. None of it has done much good.

We have to accept that Sera is afraid and can’t help herself. So we do what we can to help her. We try to anticipate when a situation is going to come up and comfort her as best we can. We haven’t found the magic trick yet, but we keep trying. At least we’re lucky enough to live in the country. That distance helps mute the fireworks a bit.

What can you do to help your with your dog’s fear of fireworks?

Scared dogs do things that they wouldn’t usually do, like bite, pace, run around nervously, hide, and just plain run away, possibly out of the yard and far from you. Their fear makes them forget. The panic makes them do things to get lost or hurt. Not because they are doing it intentionally, but because of the fear.

They say that around the Fourth, the animal shelters are the busiest at this time of year. Lots of dogs run away and end up at the shelter instead of home. Or maybe just lost for good. You don’t want this to be your dog.

dog's fear of fireworks
You can help your dog overcome his fear of fireworks.

Here are some ideas that might help.

  • Know your dog’s fear behaviors so you can anticipate a situation before it goes bad.
  • Keep your dog’s identifiers on them (tags, etc.) so you can be contacted if they do become lost.
  • Try what you can to calm them down (drugs, oils, devices, behavior management, distraction) to minimize fear. We use CBD oil. Read more about CBD in this post.
  • Keep them securely. At home in a safe place is the best. Hopefully with the other tactics as well.

This time will end eventually. At least until next year. And since you can’t make it stop, you’ll need to learn how to help your dog so they can make it through safely and securely.

For more about helping an anxious dog, read my posts How to help your anxious dog or Dog mental health, or this article from Dogs Naturally magazine.

Have you found some tips and tricks to help your dog with the fear of fireworks? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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