Does your pup shudder at the sound of thunder? What about loud noises like exploding fireworks? Even if your buddy is decked out in patriotic gear for Independence Day (we see you bandana and dog fit lovers out there), that doesn’t mean they’ll enjoy it as we will.
If your furry friend gets anxious when humans are celebrating in the loud way that we do, not to worry. We know you care about your pet. That’s why we’ve researched some ways you can help your pooch out when they get scared. Keep reading!
Why Do Dogs Get Scared by Fireworks?
It’s actually pretty simple. Loud noises can be intimidating and threatening to your dog. Your pooch has incredible hearing, did you know that? It’s true! When it comes to hearing, we humans don’t even compare to those cute floppy ears.
The average human ear can hear sounds ranging from 20Hz (low) to 20,000 Hz (high). But your pup can hear sounds from 40 Hz up to 50,000 Hz or even 60,000 Hz. Hz is how we measure frequencies, where one hertz (Hz) is equal to one cycle per second.*
That means your dog has some seriously hyper-sensitive ears. It’s a no-brainer that fireworks are loud and scary to your dog. Plus:
- Fireworks are unpredictable. Your dog might react with stress symptoms like panting, restlessness, trembling, howling, pacing, and whining because they are unable to adjust.
- Fireworks can be claustrophobic to your pooch. Your dog may try to run and hide from the loud booming, but in actuality, there is nowhere to go to escape the noise.
- Your dog’s survival instincts might come into play. Loud noises may trigger your dog's fight-or-flight response. Although the 4th of July to us is full of fanfare and celebration, the holiday to your dog might mean their whole world is under attack.
Tried & True Ways to Mitigate Doggy Anxiety:
Take your pup to their vet before the holiday(s). An evaluation of your pooch by a trusted professional can be super helpful in finding effective solutions. Your vet might prescribe medicine or offer ideas to calm your dog down. Always ask your vet first what is best for your pupper.
Doggy Pressure Relief
Ever try weighted blankets to ease anxiety and reduce stress? Your doggy friend can be comforted by the same idea. Anxiety wraps exert gentle pressure on your dog’s body to help lower heart rate and other signs of fear or anxiety. Likewise, thunder shirts and calming jackets provide a soft, calming pressure to specific pressure points on your dog’s body to promote relief and calm.*
Get Them Used to Scary Noises
Trainers also suggest trying a few desensitizing tactics, like playing sounds of fireworks (softly) so your pup can get used to hearing them. You can even try counter-conditioning, where you give your dog a treat (try our Pupgrade Chews for starters) paired with the loud sounds. You can carry around special treats to give Fido only when there is a loud noise or boom outside. Your dog might begin to associate the noises with something positive.
Comfort Your Dog
This will probably be your favorite solution, mom or dad. Shower the scared woofer with love and positive attention! Your buddy looks to you for guidance and direction, so don’t give in to the misconception that attention will reinforce your dog’s fear. Be calm and happy with your dog, and show them you are there to keep them safe. Snuggle up to that sweet, little (or big) pup!
Create a Safe Space
Treat your pooch to a sensory-sensitive safe haven. Darken windows and close the blinds. Grab some security blankets, pillows, and covers, and make a doggy den your pup can hide or burrow in. If you have a basement, move yourself and your pooch downstairs so the noises of the outside hullabaloo are muffled. If your dog is crate-trained, try covering the crate with a large blanket to create a “den” effect. Supply the safe haven with your dog’s favorite toys and treats for added comfort.
Play Calming Music
If you ever leave the Alexa on for hours after you go off to work so your separation anxiety-ridden dog can jam to some classical music, you’ve already got the right idea. Some studies suggest that certain kinds of music can help calm nervous pups.* Not only that, but the music might also help mask the loud noises outside. You and your pooch can have a chill, laid-back 4th of July while staying warm and cozy together inside. Beethoven & Independence Day? Doesn't sound too shabby.
Which tip worked best for your best friend?
Did you know stress and adrenaline rushes can affect dogs in a similar way to humans? Stress and anxiety can trigger gastrointestinal (GI) upset in your dog, or other sensitive tummy issues.* Your fluffy friend might need a little extra stomach support for when this happens. Click here to check out our Daily Multivitamin Chew which has vitamins A, C, D, and E plus essential fatty acids, or you can take a look at our Digestive Chews made with probiotics, prebiotics, blueberry powder, and pumpkin powder to promote a healthy digestive system.
All of us here at Pupgrade wish you and your pup a happy and safe holiday season!
We've gone ahead and enclosed a 10% OFF Coupon below for you to use in the store - remember, your puppy DESERVES to have the healthiest life! Click here to start shopping!
Falk, T. (2018, March 6). Can dogs hear lower frequencies than humans? - wag! WagWalking. Retrieved from https://wagwalking.com/sense/can-dogs-hear-lower-frequencies-than-humans#:~:text=Dogs.
Lindig, A. M., McGreevy, P. D., & Crean, A. J. (2020, January 13). Musical dogs: A review of the influence of auditory enrichment on canine health and behavior. Animals : an open access journal from MDPI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PMC7022433/.
Isabel.firstname.lastname@example.org. (2022, March 14). SI units – time. NIST. Retrieved from https://www.nist.gov/pml/weights-and-measures/si-units-time#:~:text.
Stephanie Gibeault, M. S. (2018, July 13). Sounds only dogs can hear: Higher pitches is where they shine. American Kennel Club. Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/sounds-only-dogs-can-hear/.
Tanaka, T., Inaba, R., & Aoyama, A. (2016, November 20). Noise and low-frequency sound levels due to aerial fireworks and prediction of the occupational exposure of pyrotechnicians to noise. NIH: National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5373909.
King, C., Buffington, L., Smith, T. J., & Grandin, T. (2014, June 26). The effect of a pressure wrap (ThunderShirt®) on heart rate and behavior in canines diagnosed with anxiety disorder. Journal of Veterinary Behavior. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1558787814000902.
Fish, R. E., Foster, M. L., Gruen, M. E., Sherman, B. L., & Dorman, D. C. (2017, July 1). Effect of wearing a telemetry jacket on behavioral and physiologic parameters of dogs in the open-field test. Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science : JAALAS. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PMC5517327/.
Buckley, L. A. (n.d.). Are Pressure Vests Beneficial at Reducing Stress in Anxious and Fearful Dogs? RCVS Knowledge, Veterinary Evidence Online. Retrieved from https://www.veterinaryevidence.org/index.php/ve/article/download/152/227?inline=1.
Grzyb, DVM, K. (2022, February 2). Signs of anxiety in dogs and puppies. PetMD. Retrieved from https://www.petmd.com/dog/behavior/signs-anxiety-dogs-and-puppies.