1-in-5 pets go missing during Fireworks! Print
Written by Brian Adam   
Saturday, 21 May 2022 14:11

Countless frightened wildlife startled into flight mode are also in danger of suddenly passing away due to this un-natural, unnecessary activity. We implore all pet parents: Please make sure your pets are safe by keeping them indoors. Create a secure spot for them to hide and always put them on leash when outside.

Dogs, cats & even birds are truly FRIGHTENED by loud, unpredictable noises & bright lights! Even otherwise confident dogs can tremble & drool at the barrage of sights & sounds.  If you can't remove them from the area, you can always try to desensitize them by playing a Fireworks video or recording.  Start at the lowest possible volume a few times a day.  Pair those sounds with GOOD THINGS such as: treats, meals or cuddles.

Slowly begin to raise the volume of the recording or video over the course of several days. If at any point they begin to show signs of fear, turn the volume down until they feel more comfortable. Repeat this several times each day, until your dog can hear the sounds of the fireworks at a fairly high volume without becoming fearful.

If desensitization hasn't ended your dog's fear, it's not completely hopeless.  Try Drowning out the sound, by turning up the music, radio/TV. Keep your windows closed during the fireworks. If the weather permits, a fan or air conditioner (if your dog isn't afraid of those sounds) can help too.

Here's what NOT to do:

  • Don't change your behavior. Many people feel compelled to baby their dogs when the dog is showing signs of fear. We pet them more than usual, cuddle them, and talk to them in soft voices.  Rather than easing a dog's fears, however, this often reinforces the dog's fearful behaviors.
  • Try not to react to the fireworks yourself.  If you jump or tense up when you hear fireworks because you are anticipating your dog's fear, your body language may worsen their fear.
  • Don't push your dog past his comfort zone. Allow him to hide if he feels more comfortable in his crate or under a bed.  Don't pull him out or try to force him closer to the fireworks in an attempt to get him used to the sounds. This may result in an increase in fear, and a frightened dog may become aggressive if pushed past his comfort level.

In the case of SEVERE phobias:

Talk to your vet about medication.  They may be able to prescribe an anti-anxiety medication or sedative to keep them calm.  Meds may be the only answer to get through fireworks season.  As soon as they stop however, it's a good idea to prepare for the next Long Weekend, by practicing the desensitization tips outlined above.  A trainer or behaviorist may also be helpful.  In severe cases, you may not be completely successful, but you should be able to ease some of their fear.