Dogs and Fireworks

Pet Lodge USA - Dog Juggling BallsA fairly common phobia for dogs is a fear of fireworks. They often find frightening the unpredictable loud noise and bright displays of light.

To help your dog through festivities, here are a few helpful hints that may you may consider:

1) Desensitize your dog. Buy a recording, or better yet, a video of fireworks being displayed. Play at a very low volume and give your dog a treat, play tug-of-war, or do some cuddling during the time the audio or video is on. Over the course of several days, slightly raise the volume each day. If your dog shows signs of being afraid, turn the volume down to where he doesn't show fear. If you do this in increments each day, you may help your dog overcome the sound and perhaps even the sight of fireworks.

2) Exhibit no change in behavior. When dogs show signs of fear, some people feel they need to baby them by talking in soft voices, cuddling, or petting them more than they usually do. If you react to fireworks by jumping or shouting, you may worsen his fear. A dog can tell from his owner's body language if there is a need to be afraid.

3) Turn up the radio or tv. If you turn the volume up of a show where people are talking or of one with soft music, you can take away the unpredictable sounds of fireworks.

4) Turn on a fan or air conditioner. If your dog isn't afraid of a fan or air conditioner, this may aid you in the situation so that the fireworks will be much lower in noise level.

5) Take your dog to a more insulated room. Maybe there is a place where you can take your dog in close proximity where the sounds of the fireworks will be much lower in noise level.

6) Allow your dog to go to his special comfort zone. If your dog has a hiding place where he feels secure, you may want to let him go there. Don't force him to listen to the sounds of the fireworks if he doesn't like them. That could cause an increase in his fear of fireworks, and he could respond with aggressiveness.

If your dog's fear is severe, nothing short of an anti-anxiety medication or sedative may help. Talk to your veterinarian about it.