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Why are dogs scared of fireworks?


We know that most people love fireworks, however, we are often faced with questions about pets and fireworks. Not all pets are scared of fireworks, but it is a common theme that a lot of dogs and cats are in fact terrified of the loud bangs and bright colours. So, the question on many people’s lips is: why are dogs scared of fireworks?

Firstly, the fact that fireworks are very loud when they are set off is of course one of the main reasons pets get scared of them. The same way that many pets are scared of thunder, the loud and irregular sounds cause panic to your animals and makes them feel scared and anxious. Not only do they create loud sounds that your dog may not be familiar with, but the bright sudden flashes repeatedly happening will also trigger your dog’s nervous system and create the same fear and anxiety that the loud noises cause. Accompanied with the bright sounds and loud noises, fireworks create a burning smell which can also be alarming for your dog, as they may sense that there is danger and something may be on fire. These three things happening at the same time is a lot to take in for an animal that is less aware than ourselves. So, you should be extra careful to look out for your dog and ensure that they are okay on bonfire night, or any occasions involving fireworks.

How to calm dogs down during fireworks?

calming dogs during fireworks

Now you are aware of why your dog may be scared of fireworks, you can now familiarise yourself with how to calm dogs down during fireworks. In America, more animals go missing on the 4th of July than any other day, so you have to be well aware of how to keep your pets safe and make sure they don’t try and run away.

The first step to calming your dog during fireworks is to act normally, make your dog feel like nothing is going on and that may distract it from the loud noises and alarming bright lights. If your dog does get scared and chooses to hide somewhere, such as under your bed or a table then you should leave it be. Chasing your dog down when it is hiding may cause it even more stress and anxiety, just check on your dog regularly but try not to cause it any added stress. The most important thing to keep in mind is to not give your dog more reason to be scared and anxious. Do not shout at your dog, even if you come home and it has caused any damage, you should stay calm, to ensure you do not make your dog feel more on edge and scared. You may also play music or white noise to distract your dog from the loud sounds of fireworks.

You should be sure to feed and water your dog as they may not want to eat when they are feeling anxious. They are however likely to drink a lot of water, so make sure they are well fed beforehand and have fresh water through the night of the fireworks.

Finally, you can make your home very comfortable for your dog, to avoid as much contact with the outside as possible. Keep all your curtains and blinds closed all night to make sure that the bright flashes do not get into your house. You can also leave places for your dog to be able to hide, such as leave closet doors open and set up small areas for your dog to hide. It is okay for your dog to hide, so you can help them by setting up hiding places. An extra tip is to place some blankets or clothes in their hiding places to make it more comforting and homely for your pet.

What can I give my dog for fireworks anxiety? 

If you cannot succeed with calming your dog during fireworks, there are other options. You can get prescribed medication for your dog from your vet, or you can even buy them from some shops. These methods of medication are to treat dogs anxiety, so they are perfect for when they are fearful and anxious on bonfire night. One of the common medications is melatonin, you can give this to your dog, but you must ensure you give them the correct dosage. If you are unsure of how much to give your dog then you should enquire with your vet or a professional. Another method of calming your dog during events with fireworks is to use a thundershirt for your pet. A thunder shirt is like a dog coat that wraps around your animal and hugs them gently, which helps calm and soothe them when they are anxious. The prime use for thundershirts is of course for thunder, but it certainly has benefits when there are fireworks, as they provoke similar feelings in your pet.

Taking all these points into account you should be able to look after your dog with one of these methods. Always remember to take care of your pets and to look after them, as much as you may enjoy fireworks, just remember your dog probably doesn’t.