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Modern Dog Walking Software for Pet Professionals

Updated: June 28, 2018

The Fourth of July can be a rough time for dogs. For many, fireworks are incredibly frightening. A lot of people think dogs equate fireworks with thunder, but it can be much worse than that. With a thunderstorm, animals have a warning system based on events like changes in pressure or humidity. Fireworks, on the other hand, create unexpected loud noises (ULNs).

Unexpected Loud Noises

Imagine you’re a dog. It seems like any other night to you. You’ve had dinner and pooped. Now you’re relaxing and getting settled in for the night and BAM! BAM! BOOM!

Out of nowhere, WW III is raging outside your window. Flashes of bright light followed by incredibly loud noises. Not what your sensitive ears needed at 10 PM. Remember, you’re a dog, you have no idea why your senses are on overload, and your natural reaction is to freak out.

Make Your Dog Comfortable

Fireworks are not going anywhere. Unfortunately for our pups, they’re here to stay. While we can’t get rid of fireworks completely, we can do a few things to help our pups cope with the event.

Start Training Early

If you have a puppy, age 3 weeks – 3 months, now is a perfect time to expose them to unexpected loud noises. I’m very fortunate that my dog, Snuffy, isn’t startled easily. I used to do things like drop pans while giving him his favorite treat. I did the same on vacation when we got stuck in a car during a particularly bad Florida thunderstorm. My neighborhood also has fireworks going off seemingly all year long.

Stay Calm

Exposing them early on isn’t a guarantee they will adjust to ULNs and a lot of times we don’t get our pups in time to do the proper training. In those cases, there are some things you can do to help the situation. First, and most importantly, stay calm. If you’re nervous and on edge about the fireworks and their effect on your dog, they will pick up on that and react to you.

Provide a Soothing Environment

Next, stock up on their favorite treats and toys. Try to create a pleasant environment that will take their mind off the world around them. To further facilitate this, you can black out the windows and create a safe space. A safe space is just a place in the house where your dog feels most comfortable. When Snuffy is anxious about something, he likes to lay down in the bathtub. Some dogs may like to go in their crate or under a bed. Try to create an environment that blocks out as much noise and bright flashing light as possible.

When it comes to fireworks, the best thing you can do is be there for your pet. If you’re not able to, contact your local pet sitter and see if they have someone available. Your pet will be grateful to have some human protection from the scary unknown. Do you have any tips? Let us know in the comments.

Author Rich

Rich Miller is a co-founder at Scout. He received his undergraduate degree in Finance and a Masters in Accounting (MAcc) from Tulane University. In 2008 He left accounting to play with dogs full time.You can check out his articles on pet nutrition, behavior and safety at https://walkitlikeadog.com

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  • Miranda says:

    Not fireworks related, but I have an extreme thunder-phobe living in my house. She is also a REALLY big dog, so when she tries to hide it often means the furniture gets moved!
    We had made a lot of headway in desensitizing her, until one night when an unexpected storm cropped up in the middle of the night–well rain was expected, but the intensity of the storm was not– and she went out the doggie door into the yard (why do they try to run outside when they’re scared????). At the same time she went out, two entire trees crashed down from the lot next to ours, into our yard, crushing the fence. She escaped the yard, but fortunately my daughter-in-law came over at midnight to help look for her (with toddlers in tow) and found her on the way to our house. She smelled strongly of pine, so either she was by the trees when they fell, or she went thru them to get to the breach in the fence. Either way she was terrified.
    Long story to say that we are now practically back to square one, sadly. But what I have found that helps her a lot is dog-specific music on the Alexa, and a calming collar (that we only put on when storms are in the forecast). When not in use, I seal it back in plastic using my food saver to extend it’s shelf life 🙂
    She’s still frightened during storms, and will not eat or drink anything for hours, but with these tools, she is at least not panicking or frantically triyng to move the couch away from the wall.
    Thanks for a great blog post!

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