Whether you are ringing in the New Year or celebrating Independence Day, fireworks will most likely be a part of the equation. And although we can recognize that these colorful and loud light shows are not a threat, dogs are not so understanding. Dogs and fireworks do not have the best relationship for a myriad of reasons.
In fact, the Fourth of July is the day that most pets run away out of any other day of the year. This is because they are overwhelmed with all of the loud noise, so they try to find a place for safety.
When fireworks go off, many dogs feel scared, anxious, and confused. The sound disturbs their sense of peace. We understand that a fireworks display is only temporary, but dogs can feel trapped and hopeless when they hear loud sounds.
If you want to protect your pup from a fearful meltdown during the next fireworks bonanza, you’ve come to the right place! We will explore why dogs are scared of fireworks, what dogs tend to be the most afraid of, and ways to calm down your dog during a firework show.
Why Are Dogs Scared of Fireworks?
Naturally, dogs and fireworks do not have the greatest relationship. And when the Fourth of July comes around, you may find your dog acting differently than usual. Here are a few key reasons why dogs are scared of fireworks.
Fireworks Are Loud
Dogs have extremely sensitive hearing. Dogs can detect higher frequencies and can hear sounds four times further away than a human. Because of these abilities, dogs are more scared of fireworks due to their loud volume. All of the booms, cackles, and whistles that occur during a fireworks display can trigger fear and anxiety in our furry friends.
Dogs don’t use calendars, so they are not aware of holidays and certain celebrations. They have no comprehension of your favorite sports team winning a championship or the concept of a New Year, so the sound of fireworks can throw them off.
No matter how much you try to warn your dog that they will be hearing loud noises later that night, when that first boom goes off, they will forget all about your little pep talk. To a dog, fireworks are unpredictable and always come as a surprise.
The irregular pattern of the firework booms will throw many dogs into a state of panic. If the cracks came on time, your dog would be able to predict them and would eventually get used to them. But since the sounds of fireworks are so varied and erratic, they keep your pup’s nervous system aroused, leaving them constantly on edge.
They Are Seen as a Threat
Because fireworks are unpredictable, dogs can feel threatened by the sound. This sense of danger triggers their flight-or-fight response, and as a result, dogs may run away to find safety, bark, or show other signs of anxiety. And since they are fearful of the booms, dogs can feel trapped and uneasy. This behavior could look like your dog trying to hide, whining, panting, and pacing.
Why Do Dogs Bark at Fireworks?
When a dog barks, they are attempting to communicate with their owner. Whether they are excited or afraid, barking is a dog’s way to say what they are thinking.
So when fireworks are part of the picture, a dog’s bark may be out of fear and warning you of the potential danger. When dogs hear the loud noises, they innately think there is a threat and a disturbance in peace. Barking serves as a function to assess the situation and express their anxiety regarding the situation.
A study done by the University of Bristol in 2013 found that fireworks are among the most common triggers to incite fearful behavior in dogs. Fearful responses in dogs can be trembling, hiding, urinating, and barking.
Are All Dogs Scared of Fireworks?
No, not all dogs are scared of fireworks, but there is a natural correlation between loud noises and dogs’ sense of fear. A study conducted in 2015 by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Biosciences at the Norwegian University of Oslo showed that 23% of 5,257 dogs were fearful of noises. The study looked at 17 different dog breeds. Owners filled out a survey to report the noise sensitivity of their pets in response to four situations: fireworks, loud bangs, traffic, and thunderstorms.
With this study, the results showed that certain dog breeds are prone to be more fearful of fireworks than others. Norwegian Buhunds, Shiba Inus, and soft-coated Wheaten Terriers were among the most fearful breeds of fireworks. Pointers, Great Danes, Boxers, and Chinese Crested dogs were the least afraid of loud noises.
Other factors that may influence a dog’s fear of loud noises are their sex, whether or not they have been neutered, and past traumatic experiences related to loud noises.
The study also showed that about 30% of female dogs were more fearful of loud noises, with the possibility of hormonal differences between male and female dogs.
Neutered pups were 72% more likely to be afraid of loud sounds than of those that are neutered. Dogs that had some traumatic experiences connected to loud noises also showed more behavioral signs of anxiety than dogs that did not.
What Percentage of Dogs Are Scared of Fireworks?
Every dog has its own personality and unique fears, so not every single dog is afraid of fireworks. Some pets may be unfazed by the loud noises, and other dogs can be wailing all night.
According to a 2018 report, about 40% of pet owners reported that their dog is scared of fireworks. Because of this report, about 72% of pet owners agreed that the market should sell more silent fireworks to keep their pups from feeling scared.
How Do I Calm Down My Dog During Fireworks?
Now that the fireworks display is about to begin, how do you calm down your dog? Here are some tips to keep your dog calm and ensure that they feel safe during all the raucous.
Keep Your Dog Away From the Fireworks
The most certain way to ensure your dog doesn’t react to the fireworks is to keep them away from fireworks in the first place. On certain holidays like the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve, it may not be easy to go anywhere that doesn’t have a celebration display nearby. But staying indoors, away from their dog doors and keeping an eye on your pup throughout the night can be helpful.
Secure a Safe Space For Your Dog
Creating a space where your dog feels comfortable and at peace will keep them at ease during the fireworks. It helps to make sure they have a blanket that they enjoy cuddling with, a toy they love, or their favorite treats. These items can all make your pet feel calmer.
Bring Your Dog to a Daycare
If you do plan on going out to celebrate and don’t want to leave your dog alone at home, bringing your dog to daycare could be a good idea. Doggy daycares are experienced with these situations and have plenty of resources and strategies to keep your pup distracted and calm throughout the night.
Play White Noise
Playing any white noise to drown out the sounds of the fireworks is another great way to keep your pet calm. Whether you keep the TV on, the fan blasting, or a radio playing music, these can all provide soothing and calming effects for when the firework display outside starts.
Comfort Your Dog
If you decide to stay home with your dog, comforting them and reassuring them that everything can be effective. As long as they know they can trust you, your dog will most likely want to have a cuddle buddy once they hear all the banging outside. One thing to avoid when trying to comfort your dog is to remember to not use a higher pitch voice saying, “It’s okay.” It is best to use a normal and calm tone to ensure that there is nothing to fear.
Tire Them Out Before the Fireworks Begin
You can try to tire out your dog so they can sleep through the night before all the fireworks begin. Taking your dog on an extra-long walk or playing with them before the celebration starts are both excellent ways to get out their energy. Hopefully, they will be too spent to worry about what’s happening outside.
Desensitize Your Dog to the Sounds of Fireworks
It may be difficult to predict how your dog will react when they hear the sounds of fireworks. Desensitizing them and allowing them to get used to the sounds can help prepare them for the big night.
One way to do this is by displaying a video of fireworks at low volume on the TV. You can also play the sounds on a speaker softly so that they can hear it and learn that fireworks are nothing to worry about. But, if your dog acts scared when you do this, don’t continue the recordings.
Distract Your Dog with Treats
All dogs love treats. Whether you give them a bone, a pig ear, or some CBD treats, your dog will have something to keep them occupied while the fireworks are going off.
Can I Give My Dog CBD to Help with Fireworks?
Yes! CBD can help calm your dog during a fireworks display. But what is CBD? CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound extracted from the hemp plant. It’s known to have promising soothing benefits, making it helpful for treating your dog’s fear. Unlike THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, CBD will not make your dog high because it does not have psychoactive side effects.
CBD works by interacting with the cannabinoid receptors. Once CBD hits these receptors, they activate your endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is in charge of maintaining the body’s natural functions such as appetite, sleep, mood, and many more. Since CBD sparks your endocannabinoid system, it may play a role in the system’s functioning.
There are a few methods you can take to give your dog CBD. One is through CBD-infused dog treats. CBD dog treats can be an excellent way to relieve any stress or anxiety your dog is feeling, especially during a holiday like the Fourth of July. Our CBD dog treats come in various flavors such as Green Apple & Peanut Butter, Pumpkin & Cinnamon, and Blueberry & Sweet Potato. At HolistaPet, all of our CBD dog treats contain 100% natural ingredients. There are no GMOs, gluten, or dairy included.
Will CBD Oil Help My Dogs with Fireworks?
CBD oil drops are another method in which you can give CBD to your stressed-out pet. Similar to giving your dog treats, CBD oils for dogs can help provide calming and soothing effects to your pup during a firework show.
Giving your dog CBD oil is a bit different from a treat. You can drop the oil directly into your dog’s mouth, or you can add a few drops into their food. CBD oil will kick in faster than a treat, which makes it a great option for a fireworks show. And because the tincture contains little to no THC, your dog will not feel any of the “high” effects.
HolistaPet’s premium organic CBD oil is made with full-spectrum CBD and contains 100% natural ingredients. On top of that, it has no additives or preservatives! You can give this formula to your pet without worry.
Can Dogs Be Traumatized by Fireworks?
Because dogs have incredibly sensitive hearing, loud noises such as fireworks can be triggering and cause anxiety episodes or panic attacks for dogs. Just like humans can have certain triggers and traumatizing experiences, dogs can have the same issues when facing past traumas.
Hearing loud noises is innately stressful for dogs, and things such as fireworks, traffic, and other types of raucous can trigger scared and anxious behavior.
Final Thoughts – Dogs and Fireworks
Although seeing fireworks can be a fun experience, your dog might not think the same. It’s always tricky trying to find the right method to ensure your dog is calm during a firework display. This year, make sure you are overprepared by providing a comfortable space, playing white noise, and having plenty of CBD treats on hand!