Why are dogs afraid of fireworks and other noises?

According to research, dog fireworks anxiety or fear of noises can arise from a variety or combination of factors. Some dogs have suffered a dramatic event involving loud noises that creates a historic “trigger” for them to become anxious. Some dog breeds may have a genetic predisposition towards noise anxiety while some studies suggest that noise anxiety could be result of aging or hearing loss. No matter the specific cause, the need to relieve your dog’s fears becomes clear when your dog hides, shakes, or worse every time fireworks start.

The symptoms of noise anxiety range from mild to severe. Milder cases can include shaking, panting, hiding, barking, yawning, licking and clinging during the noise. More severe cases can include bolting, running, anxious pacing, chewing, defecating indoors jumping through a plate glass window or even seizures. Recognizing and treating noise anxiety can be critical for the health and well-being of your animal; here are some ideas to help with this problem:

1) One of the most effective and long lasting things you can do for your dog is to follow a desensitization training program.

2) Don’t change your behaviour, Many people feel compelled to baby their dogs win the dog is showing signs of fear. We Pet them more than usual, cuddle them, and talk to them I soft voices. Rather than easing a dog’s fears, however, this often reinforces the dog’s fearful behaviours.

3) Try not to react to the fireworks or other noises problems yourself. If you jump or test up when you hear fireworks or thunderstorms because you are anticipating your dog’s fear, you may make his fear worse. Your body language can tell a dog that there is a reason to be afraid.

4) Drown out the sound of the thunderstorm or fireworks. Try to turn up the radio or television and make sure you shut all doors and windows in your home and don’t forget to draw the sustains. This will block out any scary flashes of light

5) Don’t push your dog past his or her comfort zone. Allow them to hide if they feel more comfortable in there crate or under the bed, or in a closet. Make sure you leave the door open so they are free to come and go when he needs, confinement can cause panic. Don’t pull him or her out or try to force him closer to the noises in an attempt to get used to the sounds. This may result in an increase in fear, and a frightened dog may become aggressive if pushed pasted his comfort level.

6) Another thing you can try is to make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day before the storm or fireworks if possible.

7) There are also a couple of types of canine wraps on the market that reportedly help soothe phobic dogs. The original anxiety wrap was invented by professional dog trainer Susan Sharpe, the patented design uses acupressure and maintains pressure to reduce stress. The Thundershirt is also a wrap for your dog that provides gentle, constant pressure. Their website reports that overt 85% of thunder shirt users see significant improvement. There are also earmuffs you can buy for animals. Look for the type of earmuffs designed to protect the hearing of animals on aircrafts.

8) Give your dog a treat reserved especially for when fireworks and thunderstorms are bound to occur. Offer a meaty bone or a special chew toy, or stuff peanut butter or cream cheese into a marrow bone. Provide a toy that holds delectable nibbles-anything to divert your animal’s attention from the noise.

9) If you’re searching for a way to calm an overtly anxious animal, Harp music may be the answer. Sue Raimond plucks harp strings for a living. She has successfully tested the effects of the vibrations and blended tones on wolves, dogs, cats, monkeys, goats, sheep, donkeys and gorillas. Her harp therapy could be a complementary tool in modifying undesired behaviour in daily pets. Raimond recommends playing music as needed–not continuously–because some animals can become desensitized to it.

10) Some people report that using products such as DAP(Adaptil) collars(dog appeasing pheromone, simalar to the cat Feliway or back rescue remedy for fireworks and thunderstorm phobias help keep pets calm.

11) As a last resort some animals need more help for loud noise phobias. Please speak to your vet about prescribing medication suitable for your dog or cat. A patient-doctor relationship is needed before dispensing medications so if your pet hasn’t seen the vet yet, an appointment will need to be made to examine the animal to ensure that there aren’t any underlying heart or other problems, and base medications on current weight. Please do not use human medications or medications prescribed for other pets, as drugs are specific for each patient’s needs, overall health, and weight.


By Pat