Whether it’s the 4th of July, New Year’s Eve, or Memorial Day, when humans light up the sky with fireworks, there are many dogs who will be trembling with fear. No loving dog owner likes to see their pet cowering in terror, but fireworks stress in dogs is very common. So, what can you do to help your dog when fireworks are being used? What can you give a dog that fears fireworks?
If you search the internet for what can I give my dog for nervous behavior around fireworks, you will find that some people recommend drugs. Many people, though, don’t like giving their pets drugs if there is a natural alternative. That’s why so many dog lovers have started to use CBD products to calm their dog’s distress.
If you have a dog who is petrified of fireworks, here’s all the information you need on why your pet is frightened by fireworks and what you can do about it this 4th of July.
Why Is My Dog Scared of Fireworks?
Loud Unexplainable Noises Are Scary
The main reason that dogs are afraid of fireworks is that fireworks make a loud, unexplainable noise, that dogs cannot escape. An unexpected firework will startle a human being. When something startles us, our body releases adrenaline, our heartbeat and pulse rate increase, and we instinctively feel defensive. Through our understanding, we can laugh the fear off because we know that fireworks won’t hurt us. A dog, however, doesn’t know what a firework is. So, as the noises continue, they become more and more afraid.
The loud noise triggers the dog’s flight or fight response, but the dog can do nothing to make the noise stop. Simply put it is normal for a dog to be afraid of loud noises such as fireworks. Your dog does not know what they are or where they are coming from. It is impossible to explain to them that there is no need to worry. So until they can become used to what triggers the fear they will always need care and reassurance in its presence.
The noise of a firework is very unnatural. It is very loud, and it comes without any warning. A dog’s hearing is much more sensitive than our own, so they startle much easier than we do. If your dog is nervous generally, fireworks could be terrifying for your pet.
Sometimes there is a link between a dog’s fear of fireworks and a previous experience. If the dog has been maltreated, it may associate loud noises with bad treatment. Perhaps a previous owner often yelled at the dog. This would explain why the dog gets tenses up when it hears loud noises. This is why it is never a good idea to yell at your dog for any reason. You do not want to form or intensify any negative reactions towards loud noises. Instead, rewarding your dog with positive reinforcement is always the best way to go.
There is also evidence that some breeds of dogs are more susceptible to fireworks anxiety than others. So, this fear could be an element of genetics as well. For instance, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, American Foxhounds, Beagles, and Pointers are some examples of hunting dogs. Hunting dog breeds were bred and raised around loud noises like gunshots and yelling. Because of their genetic history, these dog breeds may be less likely to be triggered by fireworks. However, It is common for any breed of dog to have a general fear of fireworks or loud noises.
Are All Dogs Scared of Fireworks?
No, not all dogs are scared of fireworks. While some breeds are generally timider than others (like the Mastiff), every dog is unique. Like people, a dog’s fears are influenced by its history, personality, and surrounding environment. We’ve already seen how a dog’s history can influence its fearfulness, so let’s take a look at personality.
Even if your furry friend was lucky enough to have a good puppy-hood, it might still grow into an easily scared dog. For example, your dog’s previous owner may have been a fearful person. Even if they took excellent care of the dog and gave them plenty of love, the dog might have noticed that their owner gets terrified every time someone knocks on the door. Over time, this could accidentally train the dog to associate any sudden noise with fear.
This brings us to your pet’s environment, which plays a significant role in a dog’s reactions. Canines are incredibly empathetic, and they tend to mimic the behavior of their owner. If you are playful and excited during fireworks, your dog may see that it has nothing to fear. This may not work for every pooch, but remember to stay confident and reassuring if they start to feel anxious.
What Are the Symptoms of Dog Firework Tension?
If your pet does have fireworks tension, the symptoms will be plain to see. They will vary in severity depending on how nervous your pet is, but it will be obvious if your pet is frightened by fireworks. Fireworks tension won’t cause any long-term issues for your dog, but it will be very distressing for your pet. This is the reason why so many people ask what I can give my dog for nervous behaviors around fireworks. The main symptoms of fireworks tension are:
- Seeking Comfort
Most dogs that are experiencing fireworks tension will tremble and try to hide away behind furniture or under a table. If they are very frightened, they may urinate, or run away. In some cases, dogs become destructive when they feel nervous. They may chew on furniture, or claw at carpets.
What Is CBD and How Does It Work?
Early research into the use of CBD to manage distress in dogs and in humans may be promising. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound that manufacturers extract from the cannabis hemp plants. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is another cannabinoid from the cannabis plant, CBD does not cause a high. It is non-psychoactive, and it is non-toxic.
CBD is believed to work with a receptor in the brain called a CB1 receptor. This is one of two types of cannabinoid receptors that exist in the body. There are cannabinoid receptors throughout the body in what is known as the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system regulates many of the body’s natural functions.
Research is still ongoing, but results to date have been very promising. This has led to suggestions that CBD could help promote calming effects in the body.
It has long been known that CBD relaxes and calms people and animals. However, it is only as of recently that studies on the effects of cannabinoids have been conducted. It is important to know that the FDA has not yet approved CBD for medical use. Because of this, it is not intended to prevent, treat, or cure any conditions.
Can People Use CBD For Calming Fireworks Stress In Dogs?
There are many pet owners who use CBD products to help calm their pets. There are also an increasing number of people who are using CBD to increase their own calmness as well. CBD is a fast-acting, natural compound that may help your dog stay calm from the sound of fireworks. Our HolistaPet CBD products have helped thousands of satisfied pet owners. We have tons of exciting reviews from happy pet owners.
“Our dog Tiny always had a fit on Fourth of July because she was afraid of the fireworks. The loud noises made her hide under the bed and whimper like a baby. This always was a problem because one person would always have to go inside and tend to the dog while the rest of the family would light fireworks outside. This all changed with the introduction of CBD. Now we give Tiny some CBD about an hour before the fireworks and no more phobia. It really works I don’t know how but it does.”
How to Calm My Dog with Cannabidiol?
The best way to calm a dog down around fireworks is to administer CBD several hours before the fireworks begin. It will take some time for the CBD to pass through the digestive system and start to work.
There are several different types of CBD products that you can use f or fireworks. These include CBD oil drops and CBD pet treats. The choice between these two will depend on you and your dog’s preference. CBD oil drops are administered by placing a few drops in the dog’s mouth, or it could be added to your dog’s food. CBD dog treats look and taste like regular dog treats, so most dogs will happily eat them.
The amount of CBD oil that will be needed to calm a dog during fireworks will depend on several factors. These include the size of your dog and the level of fear. It will also depend on how much CBD the products you purchase contain. Good quality CBD products will have dosage guidelines with them. Your vet will also be able to help you decide how much CBD to give your dog for fireworks distress.
Other Remedies to Help Calm Your Dog During the 4th of July
CBD is only one of the things that you can give your dog during fireworks. There are other natural products that will calm your pet. There are also some practical steps that you can take as well. The first thing you should do on the 4th of July is to make sure that your pet can’t escape. More dogs go missing on the 4th of July than they do on any other day of the year. They run away to try to escape the noises of the fireworks. Here are some steps you can take to make your pet more comfortable:
Keep Your Dog Indoors
In preparation for Independence Day, it can be wise to put your dog in a room where it can’t hurt itself. Prior to the festivities try to put your dog in a room which muffles any outside sound the best. The less noise your dog can hear the less reason for it to get stressed.
Keep your dog indoors and keep windows and drapes closed. This will reduce the sound and smell of fireworks. Closing the drapes or blinds will keep the flashing lights away. Doing this will also stop your dog from running away.
Distract Your Dog
Switch on the TV or play some music and give your dog some toys to play with. If your dog is distracted by something else, it will be less concerned about the noise outside.
Provide Your Dog with a Safe Place to Hide
When a dog gets scared by a sound that it can’t identify, it will want to hide. If your pet is comfortable being in a crate, they may feel better if they were in it. Or, put your dog’s bed in a corner or under a table.
Give Your Dog Comfort Items
Leaving your dog with some comfort items could also help the situation. Make sure your dog has close access to its favorite play toy as items like these will bring it comfort. If you have to leave your dog leave it with a piece of your clothing or your blanket for the dog to cuddle with. Leaving an item that is reminiscent of you should help bring comfort to your dog while you are out.
If you are with your dog while fireworks are going off it is good practice to be as comforting and positive as possible. In 2012 a study was performed to test the reaction of dogs towards a potential threat. They found that when the owner positively reinforced their dog, the dog would be more likely to approach the potential threat. Dogs are always looking to their owners for guidance and they trust their owners.
You can use this natural tendency to help keep your dog calm around loud noises or perceived threats. Being around your dog with positive reinforcement may be one of the best things you can do to keep your dog calm.
Run Away to the Country
If your dog’s fear of fireworks is very bad, you could go camping in the country on the 4th of July. It may sound a bit extreme, but a lot of pet owners do find that getting away from the city for the night is the kindest thing they can do for their dog.
Natural Herbs For Calming Your Dog
As well as CBD, there are several other natural herbs that you could use. These include lavender, chamomile, and valerian. Some herbs have been used for centuries, but you may find that they are not strong enough to calm a dog during fireworks.
Can I Give My Dog Xanax or Benadryl for Fireworks?
There are plenty of helpful pills that can help us humans take the edge off, but are medications like Xanax and Benadryl safe for our pets? When it comes to Xanax, we can answer that one easily for you: no, Xanax is not safe for dogs. It can cause their blood pressure to drop dangerously low and may cause collapse. What about Benadryl?
Well, Benadryl is a little trickier. While it is technically regarded as safe for dogs, there are so many different things to consider before giving your dog Benadryl it’s best to avoid it altogether. Let’s take a look at the specifics.
First, there are certain conditions your dog may have or be in that would require a trip to the vet before administering Benadryl. These conditions include:
- Bladder neck obstruction
- Heart failure
- Prostatic hypertrophy (prostate gland enlargement)
- Allergic lung disease
Even if your pooch doesn’t have any of these conditions, some dogs may have an allergic reaction to Benadryl. The last thing any dog lover wants to do is accidentally cause issues while trying to solve others. Additionally, the side effects of Benadryl on dogs are not ideal:
- Dry mouth
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Changes in appetite
- Urinary retention / frequent urination
Clearly, some dogs react very poorly to Benadryl. In fact, some canines have even had fatal overdoses from it. If you give your dog Benadryl and you notice a rapid heartbeat, dilated pupils, constipation, seizures, or general agitation, take them to a pet hospital immediately. Though, with all of this to consider, we strongly advise avoiding Benadryl altogether for the safety of your pet.
How NOT to Calm Your Dog During Fireworks
We’ve given some of the most effective tips for calming your furry friend when the fireworks start to go off, but what should we avoid doing? Whether you’ve gotten poor advice or never knew that certain things made your dog even more anxious, we’ve gathered some of the most important things you should not do for fireworks anxiety. First, let’s talk about nervous barkers.
If your dog tends to bark back at loud noises, fireworks season may cause you some frustration. We don’t want our four-legged friends to feel anxious, but constant barking can really put that sympathy to the test. One of the most crucial things to remember when calming a dog is that yelling gets you nowhere.
If you’ve used a stern voice to drive a point home to your dog, this isn’t the same as yelling. Dog’s recognize authority, but if you find that you’re in a shouting match with your pooch, it may actually think you’re barking with it. Have you ever heard one neighborhood dog start up a fit of barking, only to be joined by every other canine in the area? Well, that is precisely why shouting at your dog won’t stop their barking.
It may seem logical to isolate your dog, removing as much stimulation as possible so that they don’t feel anxious. While it’s an excellent idea to make your dog feel comfortable, make sure this doesn’t include removing yourself from its environment. Leaving a dog alone while fireworks explode overhead will make its anxiety even worse. When making a safe space for your dog, think blanket fort rather than an isolated cage.
How To Find Your Dog If It Runs Away From Fireworks
If you have a dog that you know gets frightened in the presence of fireworks or loud noises you may want to consider getting it microchipped. It is no coincidence that the busiest day for animal shelters is the 5th of July. This is due to all the dogs and cats that wander off trying to escape the loud sounds of fireworks they dislike on the 4th of July.
The smell of fireworks may also be confusing and make your dog want to retreat to what they presume is safety. If you think your dog might try to leave to avoid the 4th of July celebrations, implanting a microchip in your dog will help you easily locate it if it does leave.
If you do not want to get your dog a microchip the next best thing would be to get your dog a tracking collar. These are similar to dog tags but they have a GPS tracking device inside of it. If your dog gets lost you can simply go onto your phone and locate your dog through your GPS.
If you don’t get a microchip or tracking collar it is important to make sure your dog’s tags are up to date with your contact information. This way if your dog runs off due to the fireworks and someone finds it they will have the correct contact info to get ahold of you.
Knowing what to give your dog for fireworks can be tricky. Especially if you don’t want to give your dog strong chemicals. Fortunately, fireworks are only a problem once or twice a year. If your dog is very afraid of them though, that’s more than enough. Many pet owners have found that the answer is CBD oil. It’s non-toxic, it’s safe for dogs, and it just may help your dog get through the 4th of July.