Many dogs find fireworks scary. Noise phobia, which includes thunderstorms as well as fireworks, is a common fear for dogs that can cause them anxiety.
Why are Dogs Afraid of Fireworks?
Dogs are much more sensitive to sound than humans, so the loud booms are particularly frightening to them. They don’t like the unpredictableness of fireworks because they can’t get used to when to expect them. And, for many dogs, they trigger their fight-or-flight response. Dogs are more likely to run away on the 4th of July than any other day.
How to Calm Your Dog During Fireworks
There are things you can do to help your dog feel safe and calm during fireworks.
Keep Your Dog Inside
Provide your dog with a place to hide indoors. Close the windows to muffle the sounds. Let them stay in the basement, if you have one, or a quiet, windowless room like a closet or a bathroom, with their favorite blankets, toys, and bed.
Try White Noise
Put on a fan, the TV, or radio to help mask the sounds of the fireworks.
Make Sure They Go Out During the Day
Take your dog for a walk and exercise during the day before the fireworks start going off.
Provide a Distraction
Give your dog their favorite chew toy, or a toy filled with their favorite treat, to occupy their attention.
Make Sure Your Dog Has ID Tags
Just in case your dog escapes, be sure their ID tags are current and they are microchipped so there is a better chance they’ll get returned.
Can Your Dog be Desensitized to Fireworks?
You may be able to desensitize your dog to fireworks by trying the following steps:
- Play a recording of fireworks going off at a low volume several times throughout the day while they engage in a favorite activity, like playing with a toy or enjoying a treat.
- After a few days, gradually begin raising the volume.
- If your dog is afraid, turn the volume back down and continue at a slower pace.
- Keep practicing until your dog can hear the video at a loud volume without becoming afraid.